David Hertz Architects, also known as the Studio of Environmental Architecture, built a luxury home in the Caribbean state of St. Vincent and the Grenadines with a strong focus on limiting the ecological footprint to make the home effectively self-sufficient.
Sail House is the name of this large building that was inspired by the local sailing tradition. Sail House’s roof is made from a technical fabric normally used to make sails, which not only limits the roof’s cost and weight, but also optimizes and expands its area of shade, while efficiently collecting rainwater and providing passive ventilation through it the thermal fireplace technology improved.
David Hertz Architects – Studio of Environmental Architecture in Los Angeles, California, built Sail House for a couple, which not only had a central main house, but a number of smaller units, separated from the central volume, in which guests could be accommodated, along with an area for a spa and a pool.
The Sail House looks like a sailboat from the outside, and not just because of its nautical-style roof: the way the three levels of the house intersect to form piers, walkways and railing adds another nautical touch. According to the studio’s founder, David Hertz: “The main inspiration for the Sail House was a wooden boat with its masts and sails, the downright stainless steel rigging and hardware referred to in the house.”
Since construction on the Caribbean islands can be difficult due to limited resources and inhospitable geography, Sail House was prefabricated in the USA with the support of TomaHouse and then shipped to the island in fifteen containers. David Hertz optimized the cargo density to avoid wastage in organizing the transport.
The prefabricated structure was then installed over a small volume of concrete that will serve as the foundation for anchoring the house to the ground and as a cistern to collect rainwater. A series of steel girders protrude from this small parallelepiped like the masts of a ship, giving the roof and frame stability while minimizing the impact on the ground and the surrounding jungle.
David Hertz recalled in a press release that “Sustainability was one of the main goals of the Sail House project. The non-corrosive and termite-resistant aluminum structural system is encased in reclaimed ironwood planks recycled from an abandoned pier in Borneo, as are the plank floors, decks and vertical slats that control low sun and prevailing breezes. “
Most of the surfaces, both inside and outside, are made of intertwined palm leaves and fragments of local coconut shells, while other surfaces have been decorated using traditional techniques by artists from Java and Bali. The interiors of Sail House guarantee luxury and comfort, although they are decorated in a minimalist style and use few high-quality elements in light colors in contrast to the surface materials.
David Hertz has integrated a number of important sustainable components into the Sail House project. The house is energy and water self-sufficient, collects rainwater and generates photovoltaic energy; It uses reclaimed wood and takes advantage of the local climate to avoid the need for heating or cooling. To prove the truth, says David Hertz, founder of the Studio of Environmental Architecture: “Resilience can be both beautiful and tactical”.
Project: David Hertz Architects, Studio of Environmental Architecture www.studioea.com
Location: Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
House manufacture: TomaHouse
Main design consultancy: David Hertz FAIA
Project Architect: Eric Lindeman
Project developer: Stephan Schilli
Awards: Architizer A + Awards, jury winner for living, private house (XL> 6,000 sq ft)
Images courtesy of the architect