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Architect Rene Gonzalez is Building Himself an Elevated House on Farrey Lane

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Renderings by DBOX, courtesy Rene Gonzalez Architect and drawings courtesy Rene Gonzalez Architect

Rene Gonzalez, architect of South Beach's Glass condo tower and Louver House, the (current) most expensive house in Miami, and various other things, is building himself a house on Belle Isle's quaint Farrey Lane. Gonzalez shared the plans and renderings with Curbed Miami. Currently in permitting, the elevated house presents a porous and multi-layered approach to the question of sea level rise, with a seawall raised above its current position that nonetheless presents multiple levels to engage with Biscayne Bay. Like Stiltsville, and many homes of the Florida Keys, the elevated nature of the not-particularly-large house itself, up on piloti also deals with hurricane surge tides in the most natural way, but letting them flow beneath. On the main level, an open-plan living space will open up to a floating pool, while upstairs are three bedrooms, and above that a roof deck.

This is how the architect describes the project:

The Farrey Lane House is located on Biscayne Bay on Belle Isle surrounded by bungalows that were built in the 1940s, five-story multifamily buildings, and the Standard Hotel. The reality of sea level rise and serious environmental issues in Miami Beach coupled with the adjacent, variously scaled buildings require an innovative design approach to reconcile the unique qualities of the site. Sea level rise in Miami Beach has escalated from a rise of 8 inches since 1880 to a projected rise of 3 to 4 feet by the end of the century. The City is responding to this issue by elevating streets and is spending 500 million dollars on pump stations in order to stay above water. On private properties, new requirements are being imposed that would require houses to be at higher ground and seawalls to be raised. To address the issue of sea level rise and to create a home that is closely tied to the environmental qualities of Biscayne Bay, the Farrey House will be elevated.

The house interprets and translates the natural qualities of the site and the built structures of Biscayne Bay including the mangroves, the community of floating houses known as Stiltsville, docks, piers, and pilings. Raising the house keeps it safe from storm surges, allows breezes to circulate, natural light to filter in, drainage patterns to flow, and ecosystems to thrive. On the edge of two worlds, the house takes its clues and is influenced equally by both the surrounding urban fabric and environmental landscape.

· Rene Gonzalez coverage [Curbed Miami]