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Pine Tree by SAOTA Architects

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Open plan living and the ability to live in and through your home has inspired this transparent and easy-living family home. Set between the Indian Creek Canal and Pine Tree Drive in Miami’s historic Collin’s Waterfront district, the SAOTA designed space is expansive and fluid – opening up to the activity of the canal when desired, or contained when privacy is needed.

Set on a strongly linear proportioned site, the building is porous, bringing the landscape and water bodies into the interior of the house to create a greater sense of space.

Through the introduction of some introverted and extroverted courtyards, the house boasts views to the outside in two directions. These views are visible from almost any point in the house, creating a tangible and immediate relationship to the outdoors.

“The design is as much about containment as it is about the views through the many living spaces, towards the Atlantic Ocean and world-renowned Miami Beach,” says SAOTA director, Philip Olmesdahl. “While the overall contemporary architectural design is a key focus of the SAOTA design team, the use and connectivity of the spaces is the primary driver – how the house lives.”

The approach to living on the water is a unique Miami experience, and something SAOTA sought to reinforce, in keeping with the endless summers in Miami. In total, the size of the overall body of water on the site is about half the space of the six-bedroom house.

On arrival, a multi-purpose basketball court creates a buffer to Pine Tree Drive, offering a suspensive arrival experience as one enters into the grand, serene forecourt. On the opposite side of the property, to the back of the house, a pool pavilion provides a space for people to enjoy the immediacy of the water – both at the pool and at the waterway; an enclosed area offering an outdoor experience, while also allowing for privacy.

A great deal of time and effort went into the design of the pool courtyard,” says Mark Bullivant, SAOTA director. “Time was spent understanding the use of the spaces, including how and when the pool will be used. The outdoor area is animated by a series of events; whether that be the hot tub, BBQ, bar, or a two-story waterslide. The waterslide forms a focal point at the pool pavilion and makes the space appealing for entertaining.”

Natural lighting plays an active role in informing the design, with glazed openings to the side of the house flooding the interiors with natural light. The outdoor terrace is also designed to take full advantage of the Western sun, late into the afternoon.