Three residential projects from the sunshine state

Gail Taylor
Wednesday 06 May 2015

Small Miami practice, KZ Architecture delivers a big punch with its ‘tropical modern’ residential gems

KZ Architecture principal, Costa Rican-born Jaya Kader, has just announced the completion of a new lakeside artist studio on Skylake in North Miami Beach. The Artist Studio is one of three exciting new residential projects recently completed by the Miami-based boutique firm.

The Artist Studio, which was designed for a local fine artist, expresses a modernism rooted in vernacular and tropical building forms. Conceptually, the studio is light and playful. A small window in the stone-clad wall symbolises the artist's window onto the world. 

The funnelling of natural light into the structure is optimal for The Artist Studio, and was designed as part of its aesthetic. In order to maximise the natural light and still provide ample wall space, a band of clerestory windows is provided at the underside of the roof slab. Only the corners of the west and south elevations are articulated with floor to ceiling glass, in order to take advantage of the lake views.

The project includes not only the studio addition to an existing property, but also an integrated re-imagining of the terrace, garden, and rear yard area. The Artist Studio structure is elevated above the terrace level, making it appear as suspended above the landscape elements. These elements include a rock garden and a barbecue area, which frame the pool. In addition, a series of canopies and terraces was developed to create a dynamic connection between the studio, the house and the outdoor living spaces.

Two other recently completed projects, also in Florida, were designed for families. West Broadview was designed for a family of five in an infill waterfront site. According to the architect, the design ‘hoped to embrace the client’s lifestyle, incorporate the landscape and provide a neutral backdrop to the modern art and furnishings which they have collected over the years’.

The second, South Island Residence, was created for a family of six in one of the last single family enclaves along South Florida’s coastline. Large projecting canopies allow for protected sunlight to envelope every corner of the house, while all the rooms – including the living room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast room, family room and bedrooms are organised around a west-facing courtyard.

Influenced by growing up in the tropics, Jaya Kader’s design philosophy is collaborative, context and purpose driven, and her projects have won awards for their sustainability. “Most of my projects explore the notion of being inside and outside at the same time,” says Kader. Rather than disrupt a tropical setting with a man-made home, she draws philosophically from Frank Lloyd Wright, who believed that buildings should grace, and not disgrace, their environments.

Gail Taylor

Features editor

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