When we signed up for this adventure, we were sure that the house we were building would be the answer to the land we bought. Our Mother Earth deserves respect. We are touching a piece of land that is unique and exclusive and once you touch it at the most intrinsic level there is no going back. We wanted to design the house to fit ours needs and those of the horses and animals connected with us. We also wanted to incorporate within the site protection for already scarce wildlife, even though we are in close proximity to the Everglades. The lack of diversity in design leads to thoughtless, cold and desensitized spaces. In response, we designed our house to not only reflect who we are but also shelter our body, mind, and soul.
The result of this dream should be a house that is practical and that radiates great respect for the environment. We certainly believe that spaces can control human behavior. Beautiful building can make people feel comfortable. A space can promote creativity and a healthy life. They can enrich sensory experiences and improve social connectedness. The result should be a structure that improve our lives in a holistic way.
The layout of this house is the result of a careful study of the "dog trot" house historically consisting of two log cabins connected by a breezeway. The breezeway or “dogtrot," through the center of the house serves to cool occupants in the hot southern climate. The study of this layout and a proper location in the lot gives the house adequate ventilation. The way we set the house on the lot is relevant because it let us use the light inside the house without the intense Florida heat. Maximizing the light by opening all the spaces to enjoy northern light. Minimizing western exposure to saves energy and always having in mind the necessity of light. During a hurricane, the circular shape of the barn acts as an aerodynamic shield protecting the courtyard and its occupants. The breezeway funnels the air directing it to the central patio, so the horses are receiving the cool breeze from two flanks. This ventilation promotes good health by avoiding circulating bacteria, allergens, pathogens, and disease. During winter, the berm in the north propels the cold wind to the sky, and the barn avoids the direct hit from those winds. The house promotes social connectedness, beginning with the idea of a round barn which looks inward. This was the principle behind the concept of an open round barn. We hug the view of the round barn with a big Poinciana Tree acting as a natural sunshade. In Sacred Geometry, the circumference with a center represents the production of heat in the hearth. (this idea of light is being reinforced by the Royal Poinciana or "Flame Tree"). Horses being social animals need to interact daily with other horses; the circular shape allows them to check each other.
We used design principles that reflect architecture principles that encourage health, safety and the welfare of the occupants. We incorporate the environment into the spaces by the clear interaction with the exterior. Living organisms are more productive with ample natural light, ventilation and access to the outdoors. The house enjoys a lot of light and connects every room to the exterior. Similar to movies, spaces send unconscious messages that connect with emotions about feelings and desire. We see, hear, feel and smell each design element we chose. Its underlying motives consistent with the goal of design phenomenology in general: to find those conditions that make us happier, healthier, and more productive individuals.
The environment makes a big influence on you. Architecture should keep addressing the importance of having great design around us. It provokes your inborn need of connection to life and vital processes, giving you vitality. This is what are underlying message was, and what we sought to exceed at Torreya farm; the beginning of our journey and where we sought to begin that journey for many of our clients to come.
4601 Garden Point Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33414, USA
Luis Miguel Gutierrez & Imelda Uribe
4,500 SQ. FT.
Residential & Equestrian New Construction
Mario Fernandez, Air-O-dynamic