Designed for Frank Prisinzano, Miami Beach, 2006 – 2015
Ideally, everything manmade connects individuals to themselves, to each other, and to the cosmos. My goal as an architect is to accentuate the essence of a site and create buildings that lead to profound experiences for their users.
The Sun Path House in Miami Beach is a concrete structure in dialogue with a 1930’s bungalow, and uses the sun to foster the vitality and health of its inhabitants. The house is a three-story extension that becomes a new center of living for a chef, his family, and friends. An extensive kitchen serves as a spatial connection to the old house. In the garden stands an outwardly spiraling wall that punctures a floating square volume, shading an outdoor dining area below. This curved wall is simultaneously structural, functional, and sculptural. Conceptually, this curvature serves as the spine of the project and is based on the sun path diagram of the site. In order to face north, the top edge of the curved wall is rotated 11.25º in relation to the property lines. In the middle of the wall inside the square master bedroom, the curvature is parallel to the existing house. On the ground floor the wall turns 11.25º towards the middle of the garden. The rotation axis of this twist is in the center of a spiral staircase, which wraps around the chimney of a wood-fired pizza oven.
On the roof of the building is a solarium, where the wall maps the path of the sun on the summer solstice. During this passage, the sun’s rays reflect off of the wall onto the surface of the deck. Concurrently, the wall blocks the wind, imparting a sense of calm to the user. It is here that one can find solitude amongst the natural elements. This unique experience under the open sky is free of the incursions of everyday life. Time spent in this contemplative space slowly reveals the interactions between the building and the cosmos.
Project team: Joana Bem-Haja, Pino Pavese, Garrick Ambrose, Helene Nishijo Andersen, Jorge Rivera
Local architect / AoR: Rizo Carreno & Partners, Inc.
Structural engineer: Hector De Los Reyes Engineering. Inc.
Electrical and mechanical engineer: Project Caine
General contractor: Cobo Construction Corp.
Client: Frank Prisinzano
Materials: Exposed concrete, terrazzo, Carrara marble counter tops, bench and steps, wood, glass, marine grade aluminium and vines.