Prairie Avenue in Miami, a luxury residence designed by Rene Gonzalez Architects, offers shelter during hurricanes and flooding thanks to its stilts
Prairie Avenue Residence, by US-based architecture studio Rene Gonzalez Architects, is an exclusive residence in Miami Beach. It is different from those we usually call “luxury houses” in that it rests on stilts, like a hut.Unfortunately, in Miami, like in every part of the world, the effects of global warming are there to be seen and the sea level is expected to rise by a over meter by the end of the century. In order to avoid disasters, the city is actively responding to this scenario by building dams, elevating streets and imposing new requirements for new constructions such as the use of stilts.
Prairie Avenue is a vacation home, surrounded by tropical vegetation. The columns on which it is elevated recall those of the Chickee huts of the early 1800s in Florida, used to favor ventilation and provide protection from wet ground and vermin, as well as the stilt houses of Stiltsville, Biscayne Bay. Areas for parking and storage are on the ground level. A retractable bronze staircase, which opens towards the exterior and lifts into the interior of the house, provides access to the relaxation area, which hosts a long lap pool and a barbecue area.
The rest of the house is developed in 4 pavilions that seem to be floating in the air. The first hosts the living room, the dining room and the kitchen; the second the double suite; the third and the fourth two cottages for guests. These four spaces are connected by a grated metal catwalk. Floor-to-ceiling pocket doors open completely, blurring the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces. Tilted concrete walls as well as floors and ceilings appear to float in the air, towards the sky. Lastly, a bronze staircase in the master bathroom leads to the roof, where it is possible to enjoy the view of the surrounding lush vegetation.
[Text Carlotta Russo – Photo ©MichaelStavaridis]