The site, on the Atlantic Ocean in Florida, sweeps gently uphill 1,000 ft from the road to the seagrapes that grows on the dune. Comprising seven acres, the site suggested a compound rather than a single house.

The forms are arranged around a motor court on the landward side, and address the pool and the Atlantic on the seaward side. The plan resembles a diagram of an I-beam: the long axis is parallel to the ocean shore, comprising the entertaining spaces on both levels. The two shorter end wings are perpendicular to the sea, and accommodate the private family and guest spaces of the program.

Building in the tropics requires an understanding and appreciation of the corrosive nature of that climate. Warm, moist air laden with salt thrown up by breaking ocean waves creates an environment destructive of most wood and metals. In order to work with these conditions, rather than fighting them, construction is mostly stone. Wood elements are teak, known for its resistance to rot.

“Once we realized the power of the perpendicular axis and envisioned the butterfly roof resting cloud-like on the walls, we knew we had the core concept for the house.”

– Chris Coy