This house features a series of three courtyards, each with its own separate and unique character. The street side of the property contains several mature, live oaks that help shape the character of the first court. This appropriately named “Tree Court” is bound by the Florida keystone-clad wall of the guest quarters and the Ficus ripens-covered portion of the garage. 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. 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’s long vistas and sunsets.
Providing shade and comfort to both the Water and Rain Courts is the concrete parasol extending above the living room volume, to which the name of this project is indebted. Positioned to offer rain protection, it is raised above the roof to allow bay breezes to flow through the site. 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.