Single Family

Miami Beach Canopy House

Building Area : 9,894 SF
Building Status : Unbuilt

The client came to us with a large property with about 35 mature specimen trees existing on this site. The client’s intention – to try to keep as many as possible and design the house and its access around full views of these specimens. The scheme began with the living room being placed in the center of the both the oak specimen trees with floor to ceiling glass on both sides so that the shadows throughout the day may fill the space. The program seeks to position the Public/Entertainment areas in a manner that would allow their containment and separation from the more private, family areas. Exterior areas include a rooftop deck, positioned to take advantage of the long views to the water and skylines; a usable front lawn/play area, a backyard with a pool, and areas for vegetable and fruit gardening. In addition to the main two-story house, there would be a desire to also provide a separate pool house which includes an entertainment room, pool bath and a gym with an associated outdoor kitchen. The canopy house has sits below many existing specimen canopies and creates its own architectural canopy as the master suite reaches and angles away from the rest of the residence. The residence lives in beautiful shadows from the trees above and the South Florida sun light.

Cat Cay Residence – Out of the Blue

Building Area: 5,000 SF
Building Status: Completed 2018

Inspired by Bahamian architecture, but with a modern twist, this tropical beach house incorporates many of the design and climate adaptations found in traditional Bahamian Architecture.

The name of the house – “Out of the Blue” came from the client and was inspired by the many layered shades of blue sea which are a hallmark of Cat Cay. The palette of both the architecture and the interiors of the house were inspired by nature and our desire to connect to the beauty all around. Most of the house has a soft palette of natural and made materials – concrete, Cuban tiles, light wood. The restful white and soft blues of the walls serve both as respite and contrast to the vivid colors of the tropical seas and gardens outdoors.

The house includes Bahamian shutters, porches, breezeways, native keystone, and volume ceilings with wood cladding –elements with deep roots in Bahamian vernacular. The modern feel of the house is expressed in the openness of the Great Room, the immediacy of the connection to the dramatic reflecting pool outdoors, and the simple concrete decks perched above the rocks and beach below. Sliding doors in the main space retract to allow for 20 feet of gorgeous, uninterrupted ocean views.

The Bahamian roots of the house also provide several important resiliency features: cross ventilation makes public spaces well ventilated and AC optional during much of the year. Elevated decks capture the breezes and shady porches block the sun. The mechanical and electrical is lifted from the grounds and incorporated into the architecture. The basement houses several large water cisterns that capture the water from the gutters and pitched roofs.

The materials are simple to maintain in a harsh marine environment and unfussy. This is a tropical beach house designed to be enjoyed with family and friends.

La Escondida Residence

Building Area: 15,402 SF
Building Status: Completed 2018

Among this lushness, the architects oriented the structure “so the views from each room focus on specific trees in the landscape,” according to Carlos Prio-Touzet. Aligning living spaces around the outdoors also helped them modulate how the family experiences natural light. For example, the cantilevered, second-floor master bedroom seemingly floats among the trees, so morning sunshine is diffused softly through the leaves. Spaces like the kitchen and smaller dining area were made to overlook “some of the more beautiful trees with great branch qualities, so they can enjoy nice shadow play,” Prio-Touzet says. And operable glass walls intertwine throughout the facade’s solid volumes, carving out long vistas of rich greenery. “The lights are seldom turned on all day,” he adds, “because these rooms open to the outside, picking up all the bounced light.”

“The streamlined, orthogonal structure never rises above the canopy. A tree survey was a critical starting point for positioning the house on the site and establishing view corridors, requiring only one specimen to be relocated and another rotated in its place. …The accumulation of such subtle details underscores the home’s sensitive statement, delicately floating among the trees, never overwhelming the landscape. It’s why the family has fondly dubbed their new house La Escondida, or “the hidden one”—a quiet piece of Miami’s rare wilderness to call their own.”- Luxe Nestled Among Oak Trees, A Miami Home Is A Modern Haven BY MONIQUE MCINTOSH NOVEMBER 6, 2019

Custom pieces of furniture we designed for the house include a jewel-box bar recessed into a wall of anthracite-stained white oak and slabs of basaltina. The feature is mirrored by a modular cabinet constructed of dark oak and thin bars of oxidized bronze that displays the clients’ extensive collection of antique chess pieces.

Hibiscus Residence

Building Area: 10,473 SF
Building Status: Completed

Our client came to us with the idea of making a modern Miami Beach translation of a hôtel particulier, which is essentially a French urban palace.

The idea of re-interpreting this typology to be relevant for a 21st century Miami Beach house presented us with a very interesting design challenge. We understood that the client’s request was not for a “French style” or historical mansion. He wanted a thoroughly modern Miami Beach house, but he also wanted references to the spatial and historic roots of the hôtel particulier, re-imagined for Miami Beach and its tropical climate, as a starting point for the inspiration.

Hammock Lakes

Building Area: 8,000 SF
Building Status: Completed Winter 2018

The heavily landscaped 1.6-acre site sits at the corner of a roughly diamond-shaped lake that rewards the property with a long, diagonal view across the water. The house is positioned on the lake to take advantage of the seasonally changing sunsets.

The clients, a retired couple, desired a single-story residence that would be immersed in the landscape. The program brief they provided focused on public areas for entertainment and the cycles of occupancy and absence that their frequent travel would impose on the residence.

These factors would be major influences on the decision to divide the program into an assemblage of parts, starting with an entertainment pavilion to house the public rooms including his office, a wine storage feature, an internal garden court, and a long, deep portico facing the lake. The private pavilion would include a large master suite, a massage room/gym, and her office. A service pavilion with guest accommodations and family room includes staff quarters, garage, and mechanical areas. The kitchen and breakfast room serve as a connector between the entertainment and service pavilions.

The lake is intentionally hidden from view for the entire entry approach. Arrival at the front of the entertainment pavilion only alludes to the relationship of the house to the lake, in that the entertainment and master suite pavilions are surrounded entirely by serene water features. The first view of the lake occurs only after the visitor passes the midpoint of the entertainment pavilion, at which point, the pavilion-wide glass wall opens a view to the lake. (A glimpse of the lake is just possible at the juncture between the connector from the private pavilion to the entertainment pavilion.)

The one-story pavilions that make up the residence all are oriented toward the water, with full-height walls of sliding glass doors offering views of the lake and the shoreline beyond.

The public rooms in the entertainment pavilion open to an extensive porch that doubles its covered area. The deck areas lead to a long, infinity-edge pool that blends visually with the waters of the lake beyond.

Coral Gables Residence

Building Area: 6,091 SF
Building Status: Completed

Inspiration for this house was taken from nature, the tropical hammock of Coral Gables, and Biscayne Bay beyond. The house transitions from two engaged, stone-clad volumes on the street to a primarily crystalline facade on the bay side. The interiors balance a warm, neutral palette with moments of intense color, using terrazzo floors and natural wood to give the residence a very Florida tropical feeling. The blues and grey of the carpets and custom light fixtures pick up on the shades of the ocean. Bright bursts of color recall the vibrant tones typically found in tropical garden landscapes. The furniture layout takes full advantage of the crystalline facade and beautiful bay views, while also meeting the client’s programmatic needs.

Tree House Pavilion

The Moorish Revival house was designed by a very respected local Miami Beach architect Russell T. Pancoast, at a point in his career where he was experimenting with different Architectural vocabularies.

What started as a thorough renovation that included the incorporation of modern technologies, and comforts, to a historical residence, gradually incorporated a modern intervention. The client asked to add a studio to the house, over the existing kitchen that would feel like a “treehouse”. He also shared his desire for no visible signs of modern technology, and his appreciation for Cuban architecture. We promptly started studying historic photographs and existing details of the house, parallel to the exploration of tropical architecture and its application to the South Florida climate.

For the past five years, careful attention was placed to the modernization of the property integrating virtually invisible technology while maintaining the historic characteristics of the residence. Architectural professionals and craftsmen were commissioned to apply their knowledge and expertise to the restoration as well as to the new addition of the house. One by one, the pieces came together and we continue to look at the past for inspiration.

88 La Gorce/Okto – Interiors

Building Area: 17,871 SF
Building Status: Completed

The Client’s synopsis included over 16,000 SF of program and the request that the plan organization should follow the basic layout of the 1926 Carl Fisher Estate, a property he had once owned. The program is divisible into three distinct groupings: a main house that contains the primary public and private areas; a guest pavilion; and finally, a service structure with staff quarters, garage, secure storage, mechanical rooms and power plant.

The main house consists of a large rectangular volume intersected by numerous expressive elements that articulate portions of the program. The master bedroom suite is expressed within a cantilever that overlooks a strip of private beach and over 100 feet of reflecting pool (serving as a pool and spa). Located in a high-ceilinged wedge the family room overhangs the front garden, while the breakfast room, wrapped in a glass, extends beyond the main volume of the house to capture views of Indian Creek and the morning sun.

A twenty-five-foot cylindrical void becomes the core of the house, containing its vertical circulation, a partially suspended stair that spirals up, with a nine-foot width, to the roof garden, ending in a three-and-a-half-foot width. The roof of the core is built in glass allowing the natural daylight to fill the three-story void, bringing light deep within the house.

Parasol House

Building Area: 12,309 SF
Building Status: Completed

The house is designed as a long main bar, running east-west, positioned along the north side of the property. This bar is intersected by two other elements, thus forming a series of three courtyards – each with its own separate and unique character.

The street-side of the property contains a number of mature live oaks that helped inform the character of the first court. This “Tree Court” is bound by the Florida keystone-clad wall of the guest quarters volume and the Ficus ripens-covered volume of the garage. The court is sheltered by the natural canopy of the oak trees. The first perpendicular element, a glass-clad bridge that contains the children’s bedrooms, extends from the main bar and rests on the guest quarters volume. It shields the home’s entry and frames the entry to the second court. This court, the “Rain Court,” is bound on three sides by the circulation spine of the main bar, the guest quarters volume, and the two-story living room; it opens onto a dense garden wall.

The third court, the “Water Court,” faces Biscayne Bay, and contains the pool and spa. It was designed to create an exterior environment that encourages full access and enjoyment of the Bay and its long vistas and sunsets. The second canopy to shield a court is the concrete ͞parasol͟ that extends above the living room volume. Positioned to offer solar and rain protection, its is raised above the roof to allow Bay breezes to flow through the site, keeping both the Water Court and Rain Court cool. This parasol also acts as a solar reflector that blocks direct sun during most of the day while allowing the light that is reflected off the living room’s single-membrane roof to bounce off its underside.