| Frank T Noska IV
| Professor: Juan Calvo
| University of Miami
| Project Report:
This small retreat house located in South Bimini, Bahamas acts as an escape from everyday life, a focus on simple living and love for the open waters.
The idea of this project started as a desire for sincerity. This is a sincerity of form, function and material. It needed to fit the context and be an efficient and useful space. For the form, there was a study of early vernacular typologies. The shotgun house became the most prominent one, with how it functioned as a long narrow passage to allow for easy air flow and cross ventilation. It has a floor plan that contains a series of rooms that are crossed through. The camelback house, which is a variation of the shotgun house, also provided precedent for how to add a partial second floor over the rear of the house.
For function, the house needed to comply with principles of tropical climate design. This includes opening the house as much as possible, using lightweight reflective materials to shed heat on the roof and walls, having a long thin floor plan with openings on at least two sides, and making use of louvres and casements. The building also incorporates design strategies such as having a flexible indoor/outdoor space, distributed program to promote engagement with the landscape, clean finishes, and having a minimal footprint lead to minimal impact. The main structure is located in position based on optimal north/south orientation and to create a screen or edge for the outdoor room. The plan leaves the enclosed elements to the south, where the southern exposure is strongest in order to cool the open-ended living space.
The sincerity in material comes from a need to belong in the context of the Bahamas. After researching the many wreckages and salvage work that happens in the Grand Bahama Bank, the project wants to make use of reclaimed wood and weathered patina. Cypress and cedar will be an important material in constructing many of the elements including the louvres. Lastly, the interior contains varnished cabinets which is associated with sleekness and style of the sailboat.
“A sailboat is the ideal microcosm for a self-sufficient dwelling.” -David Hertz
The sailboat was an important influence on this project. It gains its efficiency through aerodynamics and lightweight materials that allows it to cut through the water. It also represents a connection with the natural world that is lost on other types of boats. It is dependent on natural elements and sits in a state of idleness. The sailboat is an important physical object and representation for the project. The largest move in the house was having it open up towards the water. It creates a one-point perspective leading out, sweeping the viewer into a daze. The sounds, the smells, the feel of the wind crossing through all contribute to a state of relaxation and escape.