Prairie Avenue Residence, Miami

Designed by: Rene Gonzalez Architects
For client: Hany Boutros Floor area: 325.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: 年度独户住宅

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.

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