Architects famously say limitations make the best architecture. That could be true for Casa Larga, a handsome Florida house recently completed by Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects (SLRA) of Bridgehampton, N.Y.
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The clients, a high-profile fashion designer and his partner, presented the firm with a simple program for the oceanfront property in Florida: a one-story house with a wing for guests that would be a Zenlike retreat. “It was not so much about the architecture as about how they would live in it,” says founding principal Fred Stelle.
Stelle Lomont Rouhani's office, long based on the south shore of Long Island, is renowned for its sleek contemporary beach houses. "We also understand coastal area codes and construction," says partner-in-charge Viola Rouhani. In Florida, she adds, regulations dictated staying landward of the coastal erosion hazard line. So the design team pulled the house far back from the beach to the west, near the road on the long, narrow 1.7-acre site, and raised it above the flood zone.
Concrete piles, drilled 25 to 30 feet into the ground, form the base for the house’s cast-in-place, board-formed concrete walls, which stand at right angles to the water to withstand an ocean surge. Because of residential construction’s vulnerability to wind and water, local code prohibits plumbing, electrical, mechanical services, or sleeping areas on the lower level. The 6,500-square-foot structure with post-tensioned concrete floors, a teak rainscreen and decking, and oak-clad ceilings, has a cantilevered roof shading the outside upper deck of the main level. It in turn shelters the terrace below from the sun.
The main living quarters, including the living/dining room, kitchen, and master suite, all offer views of the ocean. The guest wing, with four bedrooms, baths, and private balconies is oriented east, and has its own “club room” and kitchen.
The house emphasizes a sense of openness to the outdoors, and the landscaping shields it from the road and the neighbors. The client seems pleased with the results: “The best part is when you get nice thank-you notes from the owner,” Rouhani says.
Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects, 48 Foster Ave Bridgehampton NY 11932, 631.537.0019, stelleco.com
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Viola Rouhani – Partner in Charge, Frederick Stelle – Partner, Luca Campaiola – Senior Designer, Damen Hamilton – Project Manager, Jessica Twiggs – Designer, Sarah Reilly – Designer, Alexa Baker – Designer
Groves & Co
Structural: Gilsanz Murray Steficek
Mechanical & Electrical: KPI Engineering Inc
Landscape: Quennell Rothschild & Partners
Lighting: Radiance Lighting
General Contractor: Michael K. Walker & Associates Inc
Landscape Contractor: Michael A. Gilkey Inc
Manufacturer of any structural components unique to this project:
“Division 3”- board formed and post-tensioned concrete structure
Precast concrete: Jake Brady Concrete by Design
Wood: Teak decking
Moisture barrier: Prosoco
Other cladding unique to this project: Thermocromex limestone stucco
Metal frame: Vitrocsa
Entrances: Impact Precious Wood
Wood doors: Lualdi Porte
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Westwood Manufacturing
Paints and stains: Benjamin Moore
Paneling: Sawdust Inc.
Solid surfacing: Krion
Special surfacing: Jake Brady Concrete by Design
Special interior finishes unique to this project: Large entryway wood sliding doors by George Nakashima Woodworkers
Downlights: Tech Lighting
Exterior: B-K Lighting
Dimming system or other lighting controls: Lutron Homeworks
Elevators/escalators: Residential Elevators Inc
Boffi Fantini, Duravit, Samuel Heath
Other unique products that contribute to sustainability: Geothermal heating/cooling