kiawah island

Custom residences on Kiawah Island, SC - House Tour

Kiawah Island in South Carolina is a private barrier island surrounded by the ocean and vast salt marshes, known for its golf courses and multi-million dollar mansions.  I had the opportunity to tour some fabulous custom homes (designed by architects) during the AIA CRAN 2014 symposium and would like to share my pictures in a series of posts.  Alas, the pictures are not that great as they were taken in a hurry with my phone.  Not to mention, it was a cloudy rainy day, not ideal for great photography.  Better pictures are available on the architect's websites, which I will link to, but, this here is first person experience with candid shots. Respect for nature takes a whole new meaning when you have to design an environmentally sensitive building set in a delicate ecosystem with abundant wildlife and challenging soil conditions, lowcountry coastal climate, and flooding.   Being in a high risk coastal flood zone, all the houses are on raised foundation pilings, with the conditioned main floor almost a story above the approach walkway, the lowest floor serving as "enclosed" garage and storage that is "allowed" to flood, i.e. the houses are not on stilts.  Worthy to note here, the Architectural Review Board design and construction guidelines are 80 pages long.  So no, you won't see stilt houses on this island!

House by Architect Chris Rose

I loved this contemporary house designed by Architect Christopher Rose.  The simple floor plan layout was overshadowed by strong architectural features and a material palette that suggested warmth and comfort.

Chris Rose

The front facade and the stairs leading up to the unassuming entry; no grandiose door, no porch, no statement, simply enter.  The exterior color palette is meant to blend in with the surroundings.

Chris Rose

Nice vignette there at the entry foyer.  Most of the interior walls are finished with an earthy seagrass wallpaper, and trimmed with Douglas Fir - baseboards, window and door casing, accent frieze trim, beams.

Chris Rose

This industrial steel stair leads you up to the upper floor with the secondary bedrooms.  Isn't that beautiful - a piece of art built into the architecture of the house.

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It looks like a spine.  Unfortunately, it is *not* the spine of the house.  There's a missed concept!

Chris Rose

A cozy TV viewing area under the airy open stairway.  No need for a closet under this stair.

Chris Rose

I can't get over how cool this stair is.

Chris Rose

If you are interested in the detail - thick wood stair tread over 1/4" bent steel plate, cut to shape, welded to a steel tube center stringer, finished with a layered brush stroke, for an industrial looking sculptural stair that meets code.

Chris Rose

Chris Rose

Moving on, upstairs to a hallway.  The steel structure of the house is exposed to the interior, but the industrial look is balanced by the earthy wallpaper and natural wood trim and ceilings, for a soft contemporary aesthetic.

Chris Rose

Smooth cold steel, natural warm wood trim and wrapped beams, and textured seagrass wall covering - the perfect blend of materials.

Chris Rose

Dark wood floors contrast with light walls and warm wood ceilings.

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Overlook from the upstairs hall into the two-story living room below, with the tall stone fireplace and windows from floor to ceiling.  There's the architect Christopher Rose.

Chris Rose

Kids bunk beds, looking up into a skylight.

Chris Rose

Painted wood trim flush with the gyp-board and a neat shadow line created by a reveal separating the two materials.

Chris Rose

Extra long (double faucet) wall mount sink in a simple bathroom for the kids.

Chris Rose

The pool and deck in the back overlooking one of the many ponds in Kiawah.

Chris Rose

You can get a sense of the structural grid from the exterior.  The beams visible at the ceiling inside follow through to the exterior to support the deep roof overhang with steel brackets anchoring them to the steel columns.

Chris Rose

Outdoor shower mounted on the exterior wall of the lowest floor.  You can see the gaps between the siding to allow flooding of the lowest floor.  The mesh screen behind keeps the enclosed area relatively bug free and crap free in a flood.

Chris Rose

View from inside the garage looking out.

Chris Rose

Close-up picture of the wall on the lowest floor that is liable to flood - unfinished stud walls with mesh screen and exterior siding with gaps.

Hope you enjoyed this post.  Again, apologies for the fuzzy pictures.

Cheers,

Sharon.

AIA CRAN Symposium - The Architecture of Influence

I have just returned from Charleston, South Carolina where I attended the 2014 symposium of The American Institute of Architects Custom Residential Architects Network (AIA CRAN). Wow, that's a mouthful!  If you work in or run a residential practice, this is the part of the AIA that you need to follow and be involved with. I was excited about this symposium for three reasons. Firstly, I was looking forward to going back to Charleston and spending some time in the historic city, because the first time I was there, I spent most of my time on the beach.  Secondly, this was going to be my first time at a CRAN symposium and I had heard great things about the ones in the past, especially the home-tours.  Lastly, and most importantly, the theme: "The Architecture of Influence" - you cannot tell me that does not sound inviting to a bunch of architects.  Charleston was the perfect backdrop to explore this aspect of residential architecture.

"“The Architecture of Influence” will explore the importance of history and context in the design of new houses, and in particular how the careful consideration of historical architectural styles – both traditional and Modernist – can help architects design houses that contribute to established physical and cultural settings. How a new house or building looks is fundamental to how a community responds to it, and this symposium is intended to encourage an ongoing conversation about what it means to design a good architectural neighbor in the 21st century."

The walking tour of four houses (pictured below) in downtown Charleston was an excellent way to experience the city and appreciate architectural details that lend to the charm of the city - the courtyards, gardens, and south facing side porches, the decorative iron gates, gas lanterns, and window shutters, the variety of materials and colors, the weathered age and imperfection.

It was inspiring to see the work presented by architects and be part of the stirring dialogues that followed.  Particularly refreshing was the work of Khoury & Vogt Architects in Alys Beach, Florida (I wanna go there!).  Traditional style of design held the floor one afternoon, and modernist another.  The debate of architectural style was put to rest, somewhat, when Architect Julie Snow said, "the question of traditional vs. modern is a red herring. There is good architecture, and there's bad".  I couldn't agree more.

I really enjoyed the lively keynote address by new urbanist Andres Duany, but frankly speaking, I could have lived with fewer lectures.  A few were engaging, but many were a little too dry and academic for my liking.  I like to indulge in intellectual discourse just as much as the next person, but for afternoon sessions, they were long and one too many.   I wish instead, there was some discussion about matters such as how architects can shape and influence public opinion about architecture, or the role and value of historic preservation efforts, or any number of other relevant topics.

On the last morning, we toured four houses (pictures below), including the historic Vanderhost plantation, and the ocean course clubhouse (designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects) on Kiawah Island, a private barrier island surrounded by the ocean and salt marshes, known for its golf courses and mansions.  Respect for nature takes a whole new meaning when you have to design a building set in a delicate ecosystem that supports abundant wildlife, challenging soil conditions, lowcountry coastal climate, and flooding.  Not to mention, the Architectural Review Board design and construction guidelines are 80 pages long.

I'll admit these are not great photographs, as they were taken in a hurry with my phone.  The Kiawah tour particularly was very rushed.  But, I'll upload more pictures in a separate post shortly.

Also, got myself a copy of the book that CRAN released - Houses for All Regions CRAN Residential Collection.

Cheers,

Sharon.