Ponte Vedra Beach
Built in 1966 by William Morgan, FAIA.
“Rolling sand dunes, palm trees and the constantly changing mood of the ocean form a dramatic backdrop for this boldly stated house. The powerful architectural forms are somewhat softened by sensitive detailing, and the by the juxtaposition of the solid masonry service towers with light, wooden walls and screens of the cantilevered main floor.”
This beachfront house is composed of four masonry towers that elevate the horizontal living spaces above the existing dune. The plan is at once elegantly simple, yet layered to accommodate the varied spaces needed for a large family. The masonry towers house all services and support the steel structure beams that cantilever 14 feet at either end. The east and west elevations of the elevated volume are entirely open, a wooden deck, set in front of continuous floor-to-ceiling glazing. Full height fine-grained wooden lattice sunscreens pivot open, where they project horizontally, to provide deep shade covers over the deck, and close down vertically to provide privacy from the road to the west, or security and hurricane protection to all openings.
AIA Florida Award of Merit (1964)
“A rectangular plan was adopted to provide maximum view of the beach and forest and to give good through ventilation. The main living areas are raised on a platform above the garage and storage areas. Bedrooms are placed at either end of the main floor in close relation to the service towers, which contain the bathrooms at this level. The towers continue downward to form the utility areas off the garage, and upward to shield air conditioning condensers, flues and vents above the roof. Counter- weighted wood shutters protect exterior glazed area, providing sun protection in the open position, and hurricane and vandal protection when closed.”
“Pressure-treated pine and cedar, exposed masonry and glass are the principal exterior materials. The steel frame of the second floor is supported by the concrete service towers, which in turn rest on a concrete foundation. Inside, stained wood, painted plasterboard, resilient tile floors and acoustical sprayed ceilings make a congenial background for some fairly standard contemporary furniture. The built-in sofas which flank the raised-hearth fireplace in the living room are described by William Morgan as giving “an intimate scale in contrast to the high ceilings and glass walls of the living-dining area.” The inside kitchen is lighted by two skylights and has a convenient service counter on the dining room side. A sheltered deck adjoining the dining room has easy access to the kitchen so that meals can be served out of doors without trouble. The cost of the house, excluding lot, landscaping and furnishings was a very moderate $40,000.”
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