OCEAN residence


Completion date: OCTOBER 2018

From the early 20th century, South Florida has been an attractive place to live in connection with the sub-tropical climate it offers. Since that time, lot sizes have decreased while the size of homes have increased. This, in addition to the risks of sea-level rise, have presented great challenges to architects. The design of this home addresses these challenges by maximizing the abundance of natural landscape on the ground floor to act as a bio-swale, while elevating the outdoor functions of the home to the second floor, above the garden.  

Located less than 400’ away from the Atlantic Ocean, the design of the house protects the family not only from yearly flooding, but also from the risks of climate change. As sea-level rises, the family can retreat to second floor living areas. Over time, and as the sea water advances onto land, the ground floor returns back to nature. Future additions are possible at the third-floor level as the family expands over time. In this way, the home becomes an example of Metabolic architecture.

One enters the home through the garden on the ground floor where sunlight is filtered through a combination of openings in the raised terrace and a generous skylight within the raised pool above. A combination of light and air pirouette through the garden to create a sensory experience upon entering the home. An ethereal stair, made of stainless steel, provides access to the raised pool terrace while allowing light, air and rainwater to permeate, feeding the garden below. The raised terrace is equipped with a full, covered, outdoor kitchen, dining and living space sheltered by bedroom volumes on either side.

The design exploits ordinary materials in innovative ways. 3D printed breeze blocks define garden areas on the ground floor. Dark-painted, dash stucco dresses the ground floor volume flanking the garden, while expanses of glass connect the ground floor living spaces with the garden. Lighter toned materials such as exposed concrete and natural stone keep the second-floor volumes monolithic. This provides the home with its distinct appearance, floating masses hovering over a lush and natural landscape.