Aug 19 2006

2006 – DESIGN BOOK MAG

PROJECT: LA GORCE ESTATE 2006

Touzet Studio is one of Florida’s leading progressive boutique design firms. Although its projects span multiple disciplines, the company is best known for its exceptional, luxury residential designs and hospitality work.

After gaining professional experience working at large architecture firms, the husband and wife team of Carlos Prio- Touzet, AIA, and Jacqueline Gonzalez Touzet, AIA, LEED, AP founded Touzet Studio in 2004.

Since then, the firm has received numerous design awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Most recently, Touzet Studio was honored with the Award of Excellence from the Miami Chapter of the AIA for the Parasol House in November 2010.

Located in Miami Beach, Florida, the 12,000 sq. ft., seven-bedroom Parasol House, also called the North Bay Road Estate, is a study in restraint, modernity and sensuality. The white color of the exterior façade flows into the interior and becomes a dominant element that gives the residence a sense of lightness and purity.

In the design for another striking home along Biscayne Bay, the La Gorce Estate, the firm pursued different aesthetic and programmatic requirements. In this case, Touzet Studio addressed a threshold restriction that required the general layout and placement of the new residence to follow that of a 1926 Mediterranean home built for Carl Fisher, which the client had once owned. The resulting design was a warm contemporary home composed of three separate buildings, including the main house, the guest house and the staff quarters.

The philosophy and work of Touzet Studio is rooted in the thoughtful consideration of physical and cultural implications of each design. “We believe that every space and every surface must be able to bear the weight of engagement so that the spaces, over time, enrich the experience and add to the understanding of the whole,” says Principal Carlos Prio-Touzet.

Both designers hail from Havana, Cuba and are influenced by the tropical sensuality of that city’s textures and materials. When asked about their design process and sensibilities, the Touzets pointed out they are interested in the drama of space. For them, buildings are akin to a canvas upon which life is painted. According to Gonzalez Touzet, it is important to think “sculpturally and cinematographically” when developing a design. Moreover, “having a narrative for a project is imperative.” She describes the firms approach to design as a patient search for humane and elegant solutions. “We do not present an exterior design to a client until all interior functions have been considered and resolved. Considerations such as the movement of humans through spaces, the flow of breezes and the effects of changing light are primary in our work.”

Holding degrees from Princeton and Cornell Universities, Carlos and Jaqueline Touzet have served as university professors and guest critics. They also lecture nationally and aboard.

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