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Oppenheim Architecture

Oppenheim Architecture

Miami, FL

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Bal Harbour House

This new single-family house—located on the last vacant lot in the exclusive Bal Harbour residential community in Miami—is an elegant stone and concrete structure that creates a dynamic interplay between the landscape and the interiors while arraying ample space for both entertaining guests and private family life.

The home is designed within volumes that shift to create a sequence of courts. Upper concrete volumes are cantilevered over the stone-clad base volume, lending the house a distinctive visual rhythm. At the front, the more opaque base offers a sense of privacy from the street. At the back, this stone volume is punctuated by soaring windows that maximize views over Biscayne Bay and create seamless connections between indoor and outdoor space. Throughout, the exteriors are detailed to preserve the purity of the elemental forms through the restrained materiality of concrete, travertine, and custom-finished wood. 

Inside, the house unfolds as a sequence of three parallel rectangular volumes connected by a central corridor. Landscaped courtyards are set in the spaces between the volumes, putting interior and exterior space in constant dialogue and offering secluded pockets of outdoor sitting areas that take full advantage of Miami’s tropical climate. 

The corridor linking each of the three volumes provides a clear axis from the front of the house to the back and creates a procession of spatial experiences. The slimmer volume fronting the street acts as an entrance facade, arraying service areas like mechanical rooms and laundry areas. Set beyond these are more informal gathering areas, like the kitchen and media room. The third arrays an expansive space for receiving and entertaining guests, including a living room, a dining area, and a bar. Large sliding glass doors create fluid connections between this volume and the backyard, an expansive area overlooking the bay that features outdoor dining spaces and a glass-enclosed pool.

Material continuity throughout—from the arrival in the car court with concealed stone garage doors, to the main entry flanked by travertine reflecting pools, to the interiors themselves—creates a cohesive experience that maintains a constant interplay between indoor and outdoor space. Sliding glass panels that disappear into travertine clad walls create immediate connections between the courtyards and the living, dining, entertainment, and service areas, offering constant reference and visibility to the bay. The covered exterior deck and pool are also finished in travertine, providing a seamless transition between interior and exterior. The sequence of spaces culminates with the glass-walled pool that creates a sublime interplay with the bay beyond.

The second floor of the house arrays more private areas, including a series of bedrooms and quieter sitting areas. This floor is organized around a large linear playroom flooded with natural light from four large skylights. Six bedrooms on either side of this spine all offer direct access to landscaped terraces. The master bedroom, accessed via a private anteroom, spans the width of the house with a continuous balcony that offers commanding views out over the bay. This suite has separate master bathrooms—one featuring a spa and the other, a gym. Above, landscaped roof deck areas and wood-clad jacuzzi offer panoramic views over the bay and neighboring islands.

 
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Status: Built
Location: Bal Harbour, FL, US
Firm Role: Design Architect
Additional Credits: Consultants
Structural – Optimus Structural Design MEP – L. Triana Associates
Lighting – Radiance Lighting
Pools – Aquatic Consultants

Credits
Principal in charge: Chad Oppenheim
Project Contributors: Kevin McMorris, Juan Calvo, Alexis Cogul, Alex Lozano

Image Credits
Karen Fuchs Photography