Prairie Avenue Residence
Studio: Rene Gonzalez Architects
Project: Prairie Avenue Residence
Location: MiamiBeach, FL / USA
Credit: Photos by Michael Stavaridis / courtesy Rene Gonzalez Architects
The Prairie Avenue Residence is the first in a series of elevated residencescompleted by RGAin the city of Miami Beach, which specifically addresses the serious challenge of sea-level rise. In response to this acute risk, thishouseis elevated on stilts, both acknowledgingtraditional precedents while adapting to contemporary living in harmony with the changing environment. Withgardens, and areas for parking and storage at the ground level, its raised living areas provide safetyfor the inhabitants during hurricanes and floodingand contribute tothe sensationof being removed from urban activity ofthe surrounding neighborhood.The living areas hover over a sculptural garden of rolling tropical vegetation, which provides drainage and is a changing, organic element depending on the fluctuating levels of the water below. At the top of a retractable bronzestair, one arrives on axis with a long lap pool. Interiors are accessed through grated metal catwalksthat further emphasize the delicate connection between the ground and the living spaces. Surrounded with glass along its edges, tilted concrete walls appear to float and allow light to spill into the house creating ambiguous spatial conditions. By treating the floor and ceiling planes as independent elements, one has the sensation of being inside a sequence of floating planes elevated from the ground and oriented to the sky.