Hamptons Confidential: Pamela Glazer

Pam and Elaine

Welcome to our new feature in which we interview local personalities: agents, architects, interior designers, builders, anyone who plays a part in the world of Hamptons real estate. Want to get in on the fun? Drop us a line!

Southampton based architect Pamela Glazer is an extremely well regarded practitioner in a field dominated by men. She is known for her interesting transitional style that combines older elements with fresh, new takes on buildings. Her current projects include working on an oceanfront home in Montauk for a Mr. De Niro (see below photo).

So where are you from originally?


What eventually brought you to the Hamptons?

I moved to New York after I graduated from architecture school. I always wanted to live in New York. I worked there, I raised my kids there. I also designed a house in Southampton with my ex-husband.

I gave up practicing architecture for about 15 years and was designing–really, doing a combination of architecture and clothes design, fashion design. But I wanted to go back to architecture full time. After my divorce, I’d been doing some work out in Southampton and I thought you know what, I’ll just move there for a whole new life basically.

Have you had you always wanted to become an architect?

I was really torn about what I wanted to do when I was in high school. My mother’s aspirations for me were basically to be a teacher or a secretary. But I couldn’t learn to type.I was in high school, taking advanced physics, calculus, college algebra and typing. But I could not pass typing. Luckily my typing teacher was also my tennis coach. He said I’ll give you a pass if you go out and play tennis for an hour, because you’re the worst I ever had in here.

So I was never going to become a secretary. I really loved art, and I spent a lot of time doing studio art. But I was not allowed to go to art school because clearly I would never have a job. Finally I decided on architecture school. Maryland had a good architecture school and I got in and I actually loved it.

I worked super hard. It’s difficult particularly as a woman of course. When I went to Carnegie Mellon for an interview, a guy said to me,”Oh we never had a woman graduate here; we don’t plan on making it a habit.” Some of my professors were great but then there was also the ones that were really misogynistic. There were six women in my class and a hundred and fifteen men.

Are you still living in the house that you built for yourself?

I ended up selling it at the end of the recession because it was worth a lot.The recession was just awful. I had work but not good work. And it was important for me to keep employees, so I managed to keep my office running but income was meager. And in the end, I thought, I have this expensive overhead. I’m going to just get rid of it because if this happens again, I don’t really want to be in the same situation.

So I sold it and bought another house very close to the other one and I’m trying to decide whether to renovate it or rip it down.

What would you say is your signature style?

I think the trends may have caught up to me a little bit, but I think I’ve always done this kind of combination of contemporary, not super modern, but contemporary and somewhat traditional elements. More of a transitional and I also use a lot of reclaimed parts. It’s eclectic.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am a total jock so I do every sport under the site. I’m running out of room to hold equipment in my garage! I played tennis for the university when I was in school, but now I’ve given that up. The rule is, after you ruin one joint you then move on to another joint.

I do a lot of swimming; I did triathlons for years, but I think I’m done with that. It was too many hours of training. I took up golf and it’s gotten to be a little bit of a passion of mine. And paddleboarding and everything you can do outside. Every long vacation i take is usually like some extreme hiking somewhere in some remote area of the world.

Do you have any kind of upcoming projects you’d like to mention?

I’m doing a project now that is almost completed that I I really love. The client is the ideal client and the project is really nice. A client came to me wanting a modern style barn. We took a very literal approach. We bought a barn in Michigan and one in Pennsylvania, had them dismantled, and then we reconstructed it in a new way.

We did this very tall space, basically 22 feet tall, with a big barn structure inside. The outside are these high density cement panels that are made in Germany that are really very cool. And we did like 16 foot tall barn doors on the outside of this very modern finish on the outside. A very interesting combination.

It’s good that for you to have clients who actually trust your vision.

There’s only like three of them left!