The primary rooms of this private home in the sand dunes on the Gulf of Mexico, in the Florida panhandle, are suspended at various levels within a greenhouse structure of blue-green tinted reflective glazing.
One interior stairway encircles a glass-enclosed elevator, while another winds around a cluster of black bamboo. A large wing-like white roof, suggestive of the adjacent sand dunes, shield the open floor plan from excessive sun exposure while rising to unobstructed views of the oceanfront.
Interior spaces flow freely with minimum walls or partitions. Level changes rhythmically establish area separations and maximize direct ocean views. The gestures of the form join harmoniously with the surrounding swell of seabirds, ocean waves, and sand dunes that embrace the site.
Because of its exposure to hurricanes, the structure was placed on 40 foot deep concrete pilings supporting a structural, on grade, 12 inch thick concrete slab floor.
The inherent shape of the building itself help channel the direct wind forces of hurricanes and other storms. Using recent studies that conclude that curvilinear shapes have less than one-third of the drag of a traditional gable roof help define the roof shells.
The building walls are built entirely of poured-in-place, reinforced concrete. All interior walls are finished with a “Venetian” plaster. Wood ceilings and cabinets are teak. The floors are honed limestone.
All glazing is laminated “solexia” and “azurlite” glass panels. The major glass areas utilize a “Stack-wall” system, with perpendicular structural glass reinforcing fins held by stainless steel “patch fittings”.
Flow environment (external aerodynamics), the client’s affinity for curves, and a desire to integrate the home with its sand dune setting, all contributed to the building’s exterior form.
The site and its unique characteristics are embraced by and integrated into the residence to create a soothing and restorative living environment. The wide expanses of glass place the occupants in an environment of naturally shifting variations of illumination and express openly a pleasing freedom and independence of purpose that is at the heart of the life taking place in along the Gulf.