Project Category: Residential
Project Name: A Serene and Sustainable Waterfront
Project Location: Palm Beach, Florida 33480
Date of Completion: 2010
Architect: Mario Nievera , Nievera Williams
Stephen and Jennifer Dattels
Contractor: Armstrong Landscaping
Contractor: Benitz Building LLC
Landscape Architect collaborated with the building Architect to conceive of a
landscape design respectful of the sculptural quality of the house. The white solid massing of the house has a
sculptural feel; its continuous, repetitive gabled facade follows the water's
edge, with large expanses of glass to view the water from within. The Landscape Architect banned all notions of
typical foundation plantings which typically decorates residential buildings,
in favor of a more purposeful Landscape design, which complements the
waterfront views from within, while maintaining the modern needs of a low
maintenance, sustainable property.
topographical issues inherent in the site was the major priority driving the
Landscape Design solution. The site sits
on a low waterfront flood plain, and its shallow width, and long waterfront
exposure, would have required a large slope from street to finished floor. The Landscape Architect suggested a series of
low retaining vertical 'edges' constructed of Cor-ten steel to camouflage the
necessary grade change, allowing placement of continuous horizontal planes of
grass adjacent to the house foundation.
The Cor-ten steel edges mimic the floor plan layout so that the house
appears to sit on a plate of landscape.
The Cor-ten steel edging disappears into the jungle, symbolically
unifying the natural site to the building.
The vehicular paving surfaces are constructed of locally sourced cast
concrete, carefully dimensioned to provide enough driving surface leaving the
remainder of surface in grass. The gray
pigment of the concrete disappears into the landscape, which again blurs the
line between building and landscape. The
Landscape Architect collaborated with the building Architect to bring the
waterfront inside the house by designing
a simple square pool, and water 'rivulet' that leads out to the Intracoastal
The large black tiled swimming
pool designed by the Landscape Architect has a disappearing edge, which again
allows the eye to blur the distinction between the cultivated and uncultivated
landscape. The Landscape Architect conceived of the design of the Spa to
include a shallow plateau within the spa, which has seating for a relaxing
garden respite facing the Intracoastal Waterway.
plant palette was carefully chosen by the landscape architect to further
complement the strong architectural lines of the house, and blur the line
between house and nature. Silvery toned
leaves of the giant Bizmarkia palm reflect against the solid white walls of the
house, while thin trunked Carpentaria palms are aligned like slim soldiers
standing guard at the front door. The Carpentaria palms punctuate the four
corners of the courtyard pool, while native coconut palms curve gently into the
waterfront, and create a restful, island like feel when viewed from within the
Large masses of Pennisetum
Fountain grass sway gently at the water's edge, closely imitating the waves of
sea grasses found at the nearby Atlantic Ocean.
Large expanses of low water requirement Zoysia Grass creates a soft lawn
surface, as well as allowing surface storm water to filter and recharge the
natural aquifer below.
completed landscape resulted in serene, contemporary garden respite, echoing
the clean and restful feel of the house proving that a seamless connection
between nature and shelter is easily achieved.
Lead Architect: Jeffery
W. Smith, Smith