matue carreno rizo & partners, coral gables, fla.

"I tried to use solids and voids to take the eye beyond the physical limitations of the space and give the impression of a house bigger than it is," says architect Armando Rizo of his first house design, one he did for his family. The narrow lot forced a long, tight footprint of about 30 feet wide. To compensate for the squeeze, Rizo increased interior volume by boosting the public spaces up two stories.

Raw concrete, steel, and glass walls will protect his family from tempestuous weather and nearby neighbors but still let in lots of Florida sun. And he describes his imaginative window arrangement as "a conservative study of punctures on a stucco canvas." Other artful gestures include a frosted-glass interior bridge and landing on the second level, which spans and divides the living and dining rooms below. Tinted concrete floors on the first level will "bleed outside to the patio and then seem to dissolve into the water, since the pool is the same width as the living room," Rizo says.

Charmed, the judges pronounced the renderings "well thought-out, yet atypical."

project architect: Armando M. Rizo, AIA, Matue Carreno Rizo & Partners
project size: 2,700 square feet
site size: 0.14 acre
construction cost: Approximately $80 per square foot
renderings: Matue Carreno Rizo & Partners