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South Parkway in Florida by KZ Architecture
February 5th, 2016 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: KZ Architecture
Architect Jaya Kader Zebede’s newest project is proof positive that good things come in threes. For her first –ever contemporary home design, she successfully solved the puzzle of a pie-shaped lot in Golden Beach – a well – heeled neighborhood northeast of Miami – with a trio of distinctive forms, each designed for different functions.
It’s the result of her trademark discipline of focusing on what the client desires and what the site demands. “First I showed the clients a couple of cardboard models in the Florida Vernacular, and they said: ‘No, no – we want a modern home,” she says. “So I started playing with models – and all of the sudden there were these three volumes articulated in the modern aesthetic.”
That was back in 2005, at the beginning of a long, circuitous path from design to construction. Her clients moved away in 2006, selling their land and original plans in 2010. Luckily, the new owners wanted to move forward with her design as the primary home, modified slightly to meet changes in the Dade County Building Code.
Zebede was both patient and prepared. A veteran of the Hardvard Graduate School of Design and the architectural offices of Robert A.M. Stern and Moshe Safdie, She‘d set up shop in Florida in 2003. And though she may have started out with designs rooted in local language, the South Parkway Residence has positioned her squarely in the modernist camp today.
Clearly, she is good at it, and for all the right reasons. ”Architecture is about exploration, not a giant gesture” she says. “We want to bring the client into the process and find out what their lifestyle calls for. We listen to them, and we pay attention to the site to maximize its potential.”
In the case of this home, that meant cracking the code of a lot shaped like a wedge – one that is very narrow on the street side and very wide where it backs up to the Intracoastal Waterway. A small house had been built there in the 1950’s, and looked out from the tip of South Parkway to a series of high-rise structures. The first thing Zebede did after its teardown was to site the new home with a northern view- out to the water and away from the tall buildings.
Then she got down to the business of designing the home. “First of all, we try always to find form to what the client wants,” she says. “We do not believe in a preconception of what is going to be.”
This particular client is a couple with three children, so there was an obvious need for three bedrooms and a master suite. Zebede designed the southernmost of the three volumes as the taller, with a family room at ground level and master bedroom above. Next to it, at the center of the trio, is a slightly smaller two- story structure with children bedrooms and balcony atop, and a living room, dining room and covered terrace below. A smaller one- story volume beside it houses all service functions, plus a kitchen, breakfast area and outdoor barbecue.
It all fits together neatly on a challenging site. With only 32 feet of frontage to work with along the street, the architect placed the one story volume along the geometry of the northern property line. The rest of the house was oriented along the geometry of the southern property line, to open major living spaces to the view and 140 feet of waterfront in the back.
The overall design is the result of a program based on client wants and needs, expressed in a way that makes compelling visual sense.” If it is successful, it is a poetic composition that is practical,” she says. “It is a modernist aesthetic- it is about liberating the preconceived notion about home.”
Inside, Zebede decomposed roof, walls, doors and windows- turning all into three-dimensional planes and compositions. “It is no longer about walls, but about planes of glass and other materials,” she says.
“It is not about planes and elevations, but about three dimensions.”
It is about natural light too- and plenty of it to integrate inside and outside spaces.” That is one of my givens” she says. “I want spaces flooded with natural light, and if a bathroom has no natural light, I will use a Solatube,” she says, referring to the tubular daylighting device.
Formal entry occurs inside a vestibule at the intersection of the two main volumes of the house, framed by a scored stucco wall on the left and a sculptural stairway to the right. Three round structural columns separate the circulation path toward the kitchen from the great space fronting the living and the dining rooms. To the left of the stucco wall is the bar and the family room beyond.
In addition to white stucco, both smooth and scored, she deftly applied materials like concrete, wood, and terrazzo for floors. They serve as architectural planes and volumes that weave through indoor and outdoor spaces alike. “I like to be true to the materials inside and out” she says.
Because she also likes for her buildings to be efficient and sustainable, she collaborated from the outset with experts in structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering. The results for this home translate into a cistern to collect rainwater, low-e glass for insulation, allowing water to percolate down through the soil rather than rush out to storm drains.
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