Taylor Vacation House
Location: Abaco, Bahamas
Completion Date: 2000
Project Team: Frank Harmon, Vincent Petrarca, Quan Bahn
Our clients wanted a dramatic, modern, home-away-from-home in the Bahamas that would celebrate the beauty of the environment, accommodate the Bahaman law that homeowners provide their own drinking water (there are no freshwater wells in the coral reef islands), and withstand hurricanes, which are not an uncommon occurrence in this tropical location. Their site overlooked the Atlantic Ocean and the Sea of Abaco.
Our Design Response
We designed the house as a cube sheltered by a large, inverted-umbrella-style roof to shade the interior on hot days and to create a cooling Venturi effect with the ocean breezes. The roof also functions as a rain collecting “dish” with a drain at its center. Rainwater flows down the drain through a steel column into large collection cisterns below. After a few Bahaman downpours, the cisterns are full. To allow the clients’ family and friends to enjoy the breeze and 360-degree views of the ocean, sea, and sky, we located the living room and kitchen at the highest level. Bedrooms are tucked below and open onto outdoor seating areas. To secure the house from adverse weather, we devised a system of sliding doors and folding panels so that the house can be “zipped up” tight. Consequently, this normally open, airy home is well prepared for storms. In fact, in September of 1999, it sustained winds exceeding 140 mph.
"The house is completely appropriate for its site and context. It goes toward a person and a place—it's not all about type and style. Architects can learn from that." – Residential Architect 2002.
1999 AIA NC Honor Award
2000 AIA Triangle Honor Award
2003 Residental Architect Magazine "House of the Year"
2003 AIA NC Merit Award
2003 AIA SAR Honor Award