Prairie Avenue Residence, Miami

Designed by: Rene Gonzalez Architects
For client: Hany Boutros Floor area: 325.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: House of the Year

01 Rene Gonzalez Architects Prairie © Michael Stavaridis 2311
© Michael Stavaridis

Living room with furniture by Vincenzo de Cotiis and Emmanuel Babled

About the Project

Designed in response to the serious challenge of sea-level rises, the Prairie Avenue Residence is elevated on stilts, acknowledging traditional precedents while adapting to contemporary living in harmony with the changing environment. Like the indigenous tropical and subtropical Mangrove forests in tidal areas, which protect coastal zones from erosion, storm surge and hurricanes, the house touches the ground very lightly. With gardens, and areas for parking and storage at the ground level, raised living areas provide safety for the inhabitants during hurricanes and flooding, and contribute to the sensation of being removed from the activity of the surrounding neighborhood.
A vacation home for a client living in a colder climate, it has an entwined relationship to the tropical landscape. Elevated living areas hover over a sculptural garden of tropical vegetation, which provides drainage and is a changing, organic element depending on the fluctuating levels of the water below. Arriving at the top of a retractable bronze stair, one is on axis with a long lap pool. Interiors are accessed through grated metal catwalks that further emphasize the delicate connection between the ground and the living spaces. Surrounded with glass along its edges, tilted concrete walls appear to float, allowing light to spill into the house and creating ambiguous spatial conditions, providing the sensation of being inside a sequence of floating planes elevated from the ground and oriented to the sky.

What’s unique about it

Elevated on stilts, the Prairie Avenue Residence is equally a serious and studied response to the environmental threat of global warming as it is an exuberantly beautiful luxury residence. Traversing the ground level’s sculptural garden of rolling tropical vegetation past a water wall created from the overflow of an upper lap pool, one ascends the custom retractable bronze stair to a series of living spaces constructed with poured concrete, glass and ipe wood, and filled with art and custom furnishings. It is uniquely adaptive, harmonious, and extravagant; sensitively considered and visually profound.
The project is innovative in that it specifically addresses the serious challenge of sea-level rise in its architectural design. The threat of this condition has grown exponentially, and the city of Miami Beach is actively responding by elevating streets and spending millions of dollars on pump stations to mitigate the situation. The design acknowledges traditional precedents while adapting to contemporary living in harmony with the changing environment. The completion of the residence represents the culmination of inspiration, research, calculated risk, and a drive to find a sustainable solution that is sympathetic to nature, rather in opposition to it. The result is a resilient, new model that city officials and politicians are looking to as an example for the future, when the current tenor on climate change has become not only increasingly relevant, but critically urgent.

02 Rene Gonzalez Architect Prairie © Michael Stavaridis 2338 Lr
© Michael Stavaridis

Dining room: Vincenzo de Cotiis chandelier, Germans Ermičs custom table, Giuseppe Pagnotta chairs

03 Rene Gonzalez Architects Prairie © Michael Stavaridis 2275
© Michael Stavaridis

Light from floor-to-ceiling windows with custom kitchen and wall system by Boffi

04 Rene Gonzalez Architects Prairie © Michael Stavaridis 2363
© Michael Stavaridis

Master bedroom with custom mill work and "Origin" in Carrara marble by Emmanuel Babled

05 Rene Gonzalez Architects Prairie © Michael Stavaridis 2388
© Michael Stavaridis

Master bathroom shower enclosure of clear and mirrored glass within master bedroom

06 Rene Gonzalez Architect Prairie © Michael Stavaridis 2371 Lr
© Michael Stavaridis

Master bathroom with Carrara nebula marble sink and custom bronze stair leading to rooftop terrace

07 Rene Gonzalez Architects Prairie © Michael Stavaridis 2394
© Michael Stavaridis

View to roof terrace at base of bronze stair

08 Rene Gonzalez Architects Prairie © Michael Stavaridis 2441
© Michael Stavaridis

Guest pod with custom mill work, floating concrete stair, cypress sculpture by Mauricio Del Valle

09 Rene Gonzalez Architects Prairie © Michael Stavaridis 2424
© Michael Stavaridis

Floating concrete stair with bronze railing system

10 Rene Gonzalez Architects Prairie © Michael Stavaridis 2658
© Michael Stavaridis

Living room with floor-to-ceiling pocket doors which fully open to exterior, elevated lap pool

Location of project:
Credits:
Rene Gonzalez Architects

Mauricio Del Valle Design

Optimus Structural Design

G2J Design

Reg Hough Associates

Are you sure?

Remember that you can only vote once per award category.