Kiawah Island, South Carolina
2011 Honor Award
South Carolina American Institute of Architects
Set in the maritime forest of a coastal barrier island, the site is a small peninsula surrounded on three sides by tidal wetlands. It offers a long view to the east toward the Atlantic Ocean and closer, secondary views of a tidal inlet to the south.
The architecture of this residence employs materiality to articulate protection and set up a sense of orientation toward the distant ocean and views of wetlands all around.
A series of parallel concrete walls slices across the site toward the principal eastern view of the Atlantic Ocean. These strong walls are carefully pierced on the interior to provide a meandering cross-flow of space, light, and air "across the grain" of the parallel planes of concrete. Openings cut into the concrete walls become dramatic rectangular frames intensifying the effect of layered realms of space.
Contrasting with the firm east-west running concrete walls are the softer, lighter in-fill panel walls. Running north-south, and separated from concrete by vertical structural steel, the in-fill walls are made of 6" cedar shingles and glass. All glazing is restrained by a light grid of steel sash.
Unified by the layered internal rhythm of the repeating concrete walls, the staggered, fragmented form allows the volume of the house to visually dissolve into the vegetation of the maritime forest, intensifying the human experience of living within the site. The structure is considered to be a vehicle for both protecting and bringing the occupants close to nature.