Vernacular design – Architecture :: Article from SRQ magazine by Brittany Mattie
Hive Architects designs a concept from scratch using a unique name / descriptor. For a newly completed abode on the Bayou, the Japanese word “shibusa” has become the whole of ethics and identity.
SRQ Review | december 2021
Architectural design firm Hive Architects has an inimitable way of creating their clients’ dream homes.
After a few preliminary conversations, Principal Architects and Husband / Wife Power Team Joe Kelly, AIA and Gwen Leroy-Kelly, AIA get to know their clients, lifestyle goals and site specific conditions before proposing a unique name for the project. This first name is to encapsulate the full scope and theme of their vision, leading the design process and building it to life. “The word comes before design on every project,” they share. “But we don’t reveal the name right away, we let our customers get excited and anticipate the name right down to the design / schematic layout. There, Joe and Gwen present the word, its final meaning, and how these descriptive traits will be singularly distilled into the concept. “The word ends being a springboard that unfolds and develops in the characteristics of the house, ”explains Joe. “This defining moment triggers creativity and stimulates design. “
For husband and wife clients in the Midwest – Kate North, an entrepreneur at various companies, and Richard North, a landscape architect – they were eagerly awaiting Joe and Gwen’s revelation for their very first modern-style home build. Tucked away at the north end of Siesta Key, in the same neighborhood as the beloved Cocoon House designed by the late Paul Rudolph in 1948, the North property stretches from Big Sarasota Pass to one side and Bayou Louise from the other. “As with all of our projects, we have spent a lot of time interviewing our clients to better understand the requirements of the program and the qualities of the the spaces they envision for their new home, ”says Gwen. “Kate and Richard’s goal, we learned, was for the building to reflect their simple, simple yet refined lifestyle while maximizing site use.”
One version is worth a thousand words, but this idea led the Hive team to choose only one for this project: “shibusa”. The Japanese word is a concept which “embraces an enriched and understated appearance or experience of intrinsically fine quality with economy of form, line and effort.”
The meaning and the timeless aesthetic seemed to sum up perfectly the qualities and adjectives sought by the North for a home. And so, Shibusa wrapped the project in every carefully crafted detail. “The simplicity of the building’s horizontal forms versus vertically oriented sunscreens with ever-changing patterns of light and shadow. These elements animate the architecture, constantly changing hourly and seasonally throughout the year, ”explain Joe and Gwen. “The screens primarily serve to create a level of privacy while shading indoor spaces from the harsh Florida sunlight, but also create unique ephemeral qualities that make every home moment full of fun and surprise. “
Fitting more into the property’s vernacular (a double meaning in this case), the construction’s environmental orientation takes full advantage of the longer water views at either end of the property, while also establishing the privacy of a large adjacent structure, transforming the focus onto a private garden and lap pool, designed by DWY Landscape Architecture. “The shape of the building carefully edits and mitigates the unwanted environment while framing the views of the site’s internal features and the lush tropical landscape,” they say. “Due to the site’s long and narrow configuration on a peninsula and the fact that it is connected to the water at each end, it was important that the design take advantage of these characteristics. The strategy of an L-shaped building allowed them to orient each leg towards specific views and maximize the use of the site. The shorter portion, where most of the public aspects of the program are located, orients toward Big Sarasota Pass and encompasses the entire width of the narrow site. At the other end, the longer leg, which contains the private elements of the program, takes advantage of the entire length of the site and the cantilevers to capture views of Bayou Louise.
Meanwhile, the minimalist details and material palette are standout features that work perfectly to complement and reinforce the overall aesthetic. These are not only noticed on the outside, but are also echoed by the furnishings and internal finishes which have been personalized and specifically selected for each space by the interior design team at Hive. In the end, Shibusa’s simple yet refined personality mirrored that of her client.
“Naming brought it to life, it spoke to Kate and Richard in an emotional way, made them feel like they lived in something very unique and specialized in their lifestyle,” Gwen told About the namesake of Shibusa. Joe nods and adds, “In the end, it made a lot of sense – it became the identity of the house so much that the owners never called their house ‘house’ or ‘house’ in it. the conversation. It is “Shibusa”.Hive Architects, 1570 Boulevard of the Arts Suite 110, Sarasota, 941-951-6191, hivearchitects.com, @hivearchitects