Poetry in Motion in Golden Beach Home

A Golden Beach residence meanders toward the Intracoastal Waterway through fecund gardens that bring the tropics into every room

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Proof of how profoundly Rene Gonzalez understands that architecture is about experience can be found in a Golden Beach residence surrounded by leafy encounters and dappled vistas. The interactions he and his team orchestrated begin through a courtyard that directs anyone entering the home along one side of the building beneath a canopy that peppers the walkway with filtered light. “This provides a spatial sequence that creates anticipation before reaching the actual entrance,” says Gonzalez about one of his favorite features of the residence. “I love how the sunlight reflects myriad patterns that change with the seasons, and how the courtyard provides a beautiful series of experiences for the family each time they return to their home.” 

Inside the house, spaces are interspersed with a sequence of gardens just beyond the windows, the combination of which unfolds in poetic movement toward the main reveal: long, dramatic views of water. “This is a design that required the constraint of a very tight, narrow, pie-shaped lot, so we spent a great deal of time thinking about how we could maximize the frontage facing the Intracoastal Waterway but also provide privacy and a more natural connection with the environment,” notes the architect. “You have a view on one end and an entrance on the other, but a home is about what happens in between. You can’t have everything play out on the water side, so by surrounding the house with gardens, we were able to project richness in each of the spaces throughout it.” 

Also noteworthy is how said gardens blur the lines between the interior and exterior, especially when the sliding walls of windows on the water side of the residence are opened and the indoor and outdoor spaces become one. Just as importantly, the flora has a passive cooling effect because it offers shade and it also contributes to the warmth of the interiors. “Not only can you see the gardens from almost every part of the home, you can ‘feel’ them when stirred by breezes,” says Gonzalez. “When the plants move with the wind, they add to the sense that the home is richly involved in its environment rather than being coldly set apart from it.” Materials throughout the interiors—concrete block walls, European white oak elements, and terrazzo tiles on the floors—saturate the spaces with mellow neutral tones.  

The varied placement of windows enhances the dynamism of the residence. “The rooftop windows allow light to filter into the home in endlessly varying patterns,” adds Gonzalez. “Having light come through from above produces the illusion that the home extends up into the sky, and light wafting through the very low windows that provide glimpses of the garden create the illusion that you’re floating. They also make the house seem like it’s expanding into the different gardens and even into the sky, almost as if it is oozing outward and upward.” The residence boasts the highly honed style for which Gonzalez’s firm is well known. “This house is an example of how we develop architecture that looks almost effortless in terms of the clean, clear lines, which people tend to call minimalism; but with our choices in materiality, we infuse our architecture with an innate warmth that so many minimalist spaces do not project.”  

The 6,500-square-foot residence seems cozier than its size would suggest because of the way the home ambles toward the water. “The series of living spaces are meant to function just as flawlessly for the close-knit family of five as they do when they entertain larger groups for gatherings and celebrations,” explains Gonzalez. “The rooms have a feeling of intimacy that envelops the family when they are going about their daily lives and it’s the complete opposite when they push the glass walls open because the residence becomes one vast entertainment space with guests moving seamlessly between the outdoors and indoors.”  

This residence makes it clear why Gonzalez’s practice, one of the leading architectural firms in Florida, is admired and revered for developing architecture that exudes serenity and embodies sanctuary. 

Story Credits:

Architecture & Interior Design by Rene Gonzalez, Rene Gonzalez Architects, Miami, FL

Builder Twenty Two Group, Miami, FL

Landscape Architecture by Collaborative Independent, Miami, FL

Text by Saxon Henry

Photography by Michael Stavaridis, Miami, FL

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