ferguson shamamian & rattner architects, new york

Sprawling Mediterranean-style mansions are the bedrock of Palm Beach architecture. Their cloistered courtyards, tall, dense hedges, and stone loggias serve a deeply practical purpose--to shield the interiors from the harsh sun. These clients, however, wanted a slightly different take on the grand villa with its flamboyant tropical theme, something "more understated and organized," says Mark Ferguson, AIA.

The house, overlooking Lake Worth, consists of five main spaces on a central axis that move from the street down to the water. It flows from an oval entrance garden formed by an 8-foot-tall hedge to a grassy pool terrace at the rear. Inside, a stone courtyard at the front of the house gives way to a double-height groin-vaulted living room with dark oak wainscoting. Beyond, a loggia faces the swimming pool. And a series of terraced formal gardens extend from the pool area to the water's edge.

Our judges noted the terrific site plan and praised the firm for "a classic Florida style that was beautifully done."

project architect: Stephen Chrisman, Ferguson Shamamian & Rattner Architects
general contractor: John G. Mitchell, West Palm Beach, Fla.
landscape architect: Henegan's Nursery, West Palm Beach
interior designer: John Cottrell Company, Los Angeles
project size: 12,000 square feet
site size: 0.9 acre
construction cost: Withheld
photographer: Mick Hales