Architecture (including Interior Architecture), Landscape Design – Design Through Construction Administration; Partial Construction Management
Juan Montoya, Interior Design
For this 19-acre site with a stunning 1000-foot-long white coral beach, our approach to site planning was both structured and fluid. The aim was to create architecture that disappears seamlessly into the coastline, adapted to the warp of the land. The plan expresses a strong arrival progression. The grasscrete-paved entry road winds through a 1,000-palm nature preserve, conveying a casual, tropical aesthetic.
Arrival is celebrated with massive hardwood gates opening onto a formal stone motor court enclosed by 14-foot stone walls. Visitors climb a half-flight of pyramid-shaped stairs to a colonnaded, thatched-roof portico pointing toward the ocean, sky and horizon — the reason for visiting the villa.
On a 3-acre garden within the site, we created a village of separate pavilions for arrival, gathering, socializing, playing and sleeping. The design rationale creates a structural formal symmetry, played against asymmetries. We sequenced open spaces and pavilions in a sometimes axial, sometimes episodic promenade in which pavilions and gardens introduce themselves, acting as transitional space. Like a traditional home’s ante room, these outdoor transition spaces lend an air of graciousness. Straight and serpentine walls weave through the site, providing privacy and security, and creating intimacy for a home built on many acres.
We designed the individual pavilions as palapas — indigenous thatched-roof structures — and had them hand-crafted locally. Palapas are supported by native Mato Palo tree trunk columns braided by strangler vines. We hybridized some palapas with stone walls and details that recollect Meso-American temples. Over 8,000 tons of stone, mined from an ancient Mayan quarry to match the deep ochre of Mayan ruins, form walls, podia, coursing and cornices that recall Mayan temples. We extended the massive limestone piers at the gathering room’s corners into the adjacent swimming pool, where pedestals rising out of water reinforce the Meso-American spirit of place.