John Hess

John Hess

North Carolina and Florida


2002-03-Research/Model Making - Audubon House

This is a section model of the historic John Geiger House in Key West, Florida, which is also known as the Audubon House.  Classmates and I at the University of Miami documented the actual house, including its many eccentricities, during a summer studio.  During subsequent semesters, I worked on the model individually as time and inclination permitted.  The model is made with mahogany and hand-milled southern yellow pine (Dade County Pine) that was salvaged after hurricane Andrew.  The original house was built by John Geiger, a master wrecker, out of the same wood after he salvaged it from shipwrecks off of Key West.  According to hearsay, nefarious people on land would provide a false lighthouse to passing ships in order to cause a shipwreck and thus increase their stock of wood.  The actual house has joists that span the long dimension of the porch for some reason, a 14x14 inch lap jointed continuous wood beam on brick piers that acts as the foundation, and in the roof structure, there is no ridge beam or board.  The house has survived ferocious storms and lies virtually impervious to termites and moisture due to the high resin content of the Dade county pine.

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Status: Built
Location: Florida