Sea levels in Miami Beach are expected to rise by three to four feet by 2100, leaving many homes on the coast vulnerable, says Brett Sokol for The New York Times. Hany Boutros, a Detroit-area health care executive and real estate developer, has built a new 3,500-square-foot home in South Beach, the city’s most threatened neighborhood, that he says can stand up to water damage.
Designed by the Miami architect Rene Gonzalez as the first in a series of luxury “elevated houses” around South Florida, it has been built to allow up to 10 feet of storm surge to safely flow underneath it. The home features a retractable automated stairway that connects a 9,400-square-foot open-air gated tropical garden and parking area with the three-bedroom house above it.
“Rather than fighting the situation, we have to create spaces that allow us to live in a way that is closer to the environment, closer to the way the Seminole Indians in Florida lived,” with their Chickee huts up off the ground on stilts, protecting against water and allowing ventilating breezes to blow through. Mr. Gonzalez has taken that same approach to the glass walls of this home’s living room. They act as pocket doors, entirely sliding away to create another open-air space. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Mr. Gonzalez used glass sparingly. With the home’s overall cost at $1,700 a square foot, exposed and treated concrete dominates “with planes that just float, without gravity, if you will. The walls don’t touch the floor. They go up beyond the ceiling, appearing to continue to the sky. It gives you the effect of infinite space.”Read More