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Industrial-inspired ‘beach shack’ designed by Bryden Wood and Grimshaw completes in Florida

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The 900m² house has a retractable hydraulic-powered staircase which lifts up to create an open plan living/dining space

Initially developed with Nicholas Grimshaw, the house in Ponte Verde Beach, Florida, is inspired by both its tropical location and a hi-tech industrial design aesthetic.

The linear house comprises two symmetrical wings that extend from a central foyer and entrance. The western, street-facing façade is built as a separate layer from the main house using large precast concrete panels perforated by a pattern of portholes. The façade acts as solar shading, while generating transitioning temperature and lighting conditions, with the zone between accommodating a semi-interior garden.

The glazed eastern façade has composite aluminium-oak sliding doors and window panels that open up to the beach. Sliding Alaskan yellow cedar panels control light levels – the timber left untreated to allow natural weathering over time. The control of direct sunlight and reduction in solar heat gain on all façades, combined with integrated PV panels, is designed for energy efficiency.

Beach shack by bryden wood © ketterman photography 07(1)

The interior has been laid out around an open foyer linking the kitchen, living room and library as a continuous space.

At the centre of the scheme is a retractable hydraulic-powered staircase and three stainless steel, glass and timber platforms, constructed by a team which included nautical engineers and fabricators. Operated by two hydraulic cylinders built into the platform, the central stair can be lifted to free up the dining and living spaces and serves a rooftop platform with panoramic ocean views. The house’s structure has been designed to withstand hurricane winds of over 140mph.

First floor plan 2019 03 28

Architect’s statement

A British practice working in Florida with American contractors and designers for a German client, and a structural engineer based in Hawaii, presented a logistical challenge at first but one that was overcome with collaboration from all parties and passion for the project. Beach Shack is a beautiful building filled with fantastic set pieces of architecture and an appreciation of its incredible setting.

Paul O’Neill, director, Bryden Wood

Long section 2019 03 28

Project data

Start on site June 2016
Completion September 2018
Gross internal floor area 900m²
Gross (internal + external) floor area 3,700m²
Construction cost Confidential
Architect Bryden Wood with Nicholas Grimshaw and Thomas J Mnich
Executive architect Bryden Wood
Client Private
Structural engineer Chris C Kathe
M&E consultant CPH
QS Viaduct Advisors
Interior designer KMH
Landscape consultant Ben Dinkins
Project manager Bryden Wood
Approved building inspector St Johns County, Florida
Main contractor Carlton Construction
CAD software used Revit

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