MIAMI RESIDENCE

LOCATION / MIAMI, FL

COMPLETED / 2005

SIZE / 1,600 SF INTERIOR RENOVATION

PHOTOGRAPHER / KEN HAYDEN

 

2006 AIA New York Design. Interior - Award of Merit

2006 Interior Design Magazine Best Of The Year. Residential: Apartment - Award of Merit

This is a weekend getaway located in South Beach, Miami for a young couple with no children.  They wanted a place that was very “Miami” and that felt more like an installation than a permanent home- reflecting the sporadic occupation of the space and the fact that nobody actually lives there.

The existing space was about 1,600 sf.  It included two bedrooms, a living dining area, two and a half baths and an entry foyer.  The apartment’s most dramatic characteristic is the amazing ocean view along one side of the space.  Unfortunately, the continuous wall of windows was broken into three distinct zones by sheetrock walls dividing the space into the master bedroom, the living space and the guest room. 

Our immediate idea was to free the view so that you could take in the entire expanse from the main living space.

In order to acheive this openness at the windows and still maintain the possibility of two enclosed bedrooms we designed a series of moving “walls” that allowed the window to disengage from the enclosure of the rooms.

The flexible moving enclosures for the bedrooms and the disengaged curtain wall represented a breakthrough from the typical ways of enclosing and defining spaces.  It proposes the possibility of a much more dynamic and active way of configuring residential spaces- so that they can be easily reconfigured for different use groups or occasions.  It eliminates the empty spaces that are cut off from the main living space and yet seldom used.  This is a continuation of a process that started when kitchens became open to the dining area or living spaces, formal living rooms gave way to open living spaces and dining rooms gave way to open living dining spaces and the “loft” model for residential arrangement. 

The designs for these movable partitions themselves represent breakthroughs.  We also used material and fabrication methods that are not commonly used in residential construction.  All of these potentially represent breakthroughs in residential design.

Moving Wall Unit- Because the guest room would only occasionally be used we wanted to be able to fold it up into the demising wall onto the demising wall.  We did this by creating a combination of storage closet and wall that hangs from the ceiling and slides against the demising wall.  By hanging the unit we maintained a clean floor and eliminated the possibility the the unit would tip over.  The unit is operated by a mechanism which is driven by a removable crank/handle.  The handle turns internal gears which pull the 1,500lb unit along the three ceiling mounted steel tracks.  The unit incorporates drawers, hanging space and the door to the bedroom.  It also has a void in the center that captures a Murphy Bed which is fixed to the demising wall.  When in use, this void space provides additional hanging space or additional open floor area.

Pivot Wall- For the master bedroom we moved the entry to the bedroom against the windows, disengaging the wall and created a 10 foot wide full height pivoting wall.  When the wall is open it allows the entire master bedroom window to be seen from the living room and from the master bedroom while also preventing anyone in the living spaces to look into the bed, study or dressing area.

In the master bedroom we created two pieces of furniture which were designed in 3D on the computer and fabricated directly from the 3D models.  The final pieces were computer milled from solid blocks of foam by Tom McGuire in North Carolina using the computer models we sent them.  These blocks were reinforced with steel and aluminum and skinned in a lacquer finished, fiberglass skin.  It is similar to the construction of surfboards.

The desk was designed to cantilever from the wall and is anchored to a floor to ceiling steel column structure embedded in the millwork.

The bed lofts a flower shaped base with a rectangular bed support base. The bed is a loose piece of furniture that sits on the floor.

In order to further accentuate the view and to internalize the ocean and sand we used a custom Resin Floor with a subtle blue color and an embeded sandlike textuer.  The surface of the floor is smooth, slightly resilient and glossy to reflect the view and the sky outside.