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2012 Award of Merit - Bird Key Residence
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Project Category:  Residential

Project Name:  Bird Key Residence

Date of Completion:  December 2010

Landscape Architect:  DWY Landscape Architects - David W. Young (

Landscape Contractor: Critter Ridge Landscape Contractors - Steve Nielsen, President 

Bird Key, which lies just minutes from the City of Sarasota, is the smallest habitable barrier island within Sarasota’s beautiful coastal waters.  

The site itself presented several challenges including frigid winter winds, salt spray and elevation changes.  The myriad of jurisdictional regulation included zoning restrictions limiting the height of vertical improvements and connecting new V-zone construction with the existing non-conforming structure within the FEMA regulated high velocity zone, city requirement to preserve water views from adjacent residences and HOA regulations that seemed at odds with all of the above.


The design process began by studying the site, existing architecture and acknowledging the temporal nature of environmental conditions for the ephemeral spaces that were to be created.  Natural qualities of light, temperature, wind and water are woven together to form functional architectural spaces that accentuate the site’s location, views and climate in simple, elegant ways. 


Although the limits of work were solely for the back and side-yard areas, programming included a water wall, water garden, lap pool, spa, seawall, dining terrace, pavilion, pergola, outdoor kitchen, linear fireplace and hidden shower - each carefully addresses the natural qualities of the site, yielding spaces precisely honed for each function.  Every element is reduced to its essence for an understated quality achieved through the distillation of each component expressed with the simplest geometry.


This design exemplifies the team’s ability to achieve the owner’s goal and execute an inspired design that creates harmonious relationships between the built and natural environment.  The project’s success can be measured by the beautiful spaces created and the owner’s comment that, "it’s better than she could have ever imagined”.



 General Contractor: Clyde Alstrom - Blue water Construction

Custom fabrication: Barry Howard - Kenny Johnson Fabricators

Photography: Greg Wilson - The Greg Wilson Group

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