De Sole Residence

De Sole Residence


Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

2008 Honor Award, South Carolina
American Institute of Architects

Charleston Home + Design Magazine, Fall 2008

The Wall Street Journal Magazine, March 2013


The form of the house was inspired by the observation that the natural landscape of the island was created entirely by the phenomenon of wave action. The wind makes waves on the ocean which wash ashore and create ripples in the beach sand. The dunes, also formed by the wind, are wave-like. In prehistory, while the island was still below the ocean, the wave action of the water formed its topography - a series of parallel, sandy ridges hidden today in the maritime forest. This wave action is reflected in the rhythmic roof forms and the interior ceilings of the house.

Running from the maritime forest to the ocean, a continuous sense of procession characterizes the plan of the complex. Entry court, water features, main house, gardens, and guest house are threaded together by a core of galleries and trellised garden walks leading to the sea. Along this passage to the sea, the plan articulates a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces - rooms and gardens - uniting structure and landscape.
The base of the structure is made of an oyster shell aggregate masonry as if the cochina - the stratum of compacted sea shells - which is below the sand of the ocean floor had suddenly, stubbornly, emerged. These cochina walls are overlaid with a substantial wooden lattice which will support a network of vines, thereby integrating the structure with the natural maritime forest. Above the cochina walls floats the undulating roof, which is separated from the walls vertically by a system of louvered panels. Suggesting a sense of breathing (as a tropical island architecture should), the louvers articulate light, air, and privacy.