The Key Biscayne Residence developed in response to its sub-tropical island environment

Architects: Rene Gonzalez Architect
Location: Florida, United States
Year: 2017
Area: 5.000 ft²/ 464 m²
Photo courtesy: Michael Stavaridis

“The Key Biscayne Residence developed in response to its sub-tropical island environment. Pools are the principle, and ever-present, organizing elements of the series of living spaces, providing a feeling of coolness in the bright Miami light. Moving through the house, the experiences shift from being outdoors in a vertical space that is enveloped with walls of clay louvers, to entering a horizontally organized living area surrounded by glass doors that can entirely open to breezeways and pools.

The Key Biscayne Residence is depictive of the Latin cultural environment that surrounds it, including the client for whom it was designed. The south Florida community has many Latin American residents and the intent was to design a contemporary, comfortable house within a condition inclusive of many Mediterranean-style homes that are imbedded in these cultural conditions. As a result, many architectural elements are utilized that are inherent to the Latin tradition including patios, portales (porches), and persianas (louvered screens).

The use of materials and overall layout present a series of spatial experiences defined by light and shadow and permeable connections between interior and exterior. Implicitly interpreting the persianas, which filter light as well as mitigate heat, terracotta brick louver systems were selected in three types: a more traditional and regular horizontal pattern, pivoting vertical panels, and textural, more solid bricks.

The house itself is a series of interlocking and overlapping volumes with voids, allowing for spatial complexity and spaces that snake through the house. Because the floor level is elevated to be free from flooding, one must ascend to enter. The reflecting pools at the entry and visible pool at the rear of the house contribute to the sensory, floating quality of this private home.”