Florida House

This holiday house designed for a couple and their three children is situated in a private enclave on the coast of the North Atlantic Ocean. The site is a beautiful but demanding one, requiring us to deal with hurricane protection, hot and humid conditions, sea breezes and midges.

As avid gardeners it was important to the clients that the site felt lush and green and that the house felt very much connected to the site. The strategy we developed involved a series of spaces in the landscape rather than the more typical response which treats the house as an object in a garden.

It was also important to the clients that their privacy was maintained. The house focuses around a private courtyard with a swimming pool, located away from the beach, protected from the sea breezes and yet still connected to water by views through the living areas of the house.

The design guidelines for the community have a requirement for steeply pitched roofs. This meant coming up with clever strategies to maintain the architectural integrity of the project. The roofs over the enclosed spaces of the house are a series of pyramidal forms clad in white concrete tiles, a modernist geometric form. Over the great room is a terrace accessed from the second level, connected to the beach and the water on one side and the private courtyard and pool on the other. Roofs over the outdoor terraces below are reflection pools with water lilies viewed and enjoyed from the roof terrace.

We wanted the house to be able to be naturally ventilated without the need for the air conditioning. Cross ventilation and large overhangs were carefully considered. The reflection pools on the roofs over the outdoor terraces also have a functional purpose of cooling the warm air from the exterior as it is drawn over the water before enters the house through high level opening windows.

The material palette is a simple but rich collection of stone, concrete and timber.