San Juan, Puerto Rico - 2011
The project seeks to develop a fresh and novel concept for a private single-family residence in the context of a major public beach on the urban edge of San Juan. Altering this neighborhood’s traditional relationship with the ocean - one of virtual negation, the design reverts this tendency by celebrating the views to the sea and making it the focus of the important living spaces.
The initial concern - public vs. private = site vs. program - led to reconsider the typical site relationship by elevating the living spaces on two (2) levels above the ground and establishing a new ‘horizon’ with the clear intention of buffering – yet integrating - the intensely frequented beach. At the same time, this (3m) rise safeguards from a possible hurricane/storm surge - approximately every decade.
Addressing sustainability, the house features a linear photovoltaic-paneled pergola generating energy for most domestic consumption (except air aconditioning) as well as providing shade and protection for the a/c compressors. Hot water is supplied by a vaccum tube solar heater. Rainwater is retained and stored in a ground-level cistern, supplying water for landscaping and hose bibs, as well as replenishing pool evaporation.