Key Biscayne Penthouse

Garden / Florida / USA / Built in 2014 /

Breathtaking ocean views accentuated with shimmering city lights and ocean air serve as the main attraction for this Key Biscayne penthouse terrace. The 1,500 square-foot (140 square-meters) terrace wraps around the penthouse apartment with panoramic views of the ocean to the east, downtown Miami to the north and Biscayne Bay to the west.

Initially the clients decided to rejuvenate the terrace using only new planting. The landscape architect studied the terrace and recommended a design strategy that integrates planting with hardscape. The condominium documents governing this project imposed a number of design constraints, no structural modifications are allowed and the paint colour is tightly controlled.

The terrace is divided into two primary zones using a teak wood gate. One area is for entertaining with access from either the main living room or the library and the second area is private with access from the master bedroom.

The entertaining area is organized using horizontal and vertical hardscape elements. The existing built-in benches were overlaid with porcelain wood tiles and the area around the benches was defined using the same wood tiles as a paving material. The travertine stone paving field in between the two porcelain wood areas is accented with stone border using a contrasting color. The build-in planters were covered with a sand stone veneer and finished with a travertine stone cap. The paving for the private courtyard is kept simple using only travertine stone.

Shoreline planting selection is never easy, shoreline planting 12 stories high can be quite a challenge. Given the location, the plant material must be highly salt and wind tolerant. For this project the landscape architect imposed one more requirement, planting also had to be sculptural and fluid, not formal or manicured. The landscape architect researched different plant material and visited a number of specialty nurseries before arriving at the final plant list. Each planter is anchored with one specimen palm, tree or accent plant. Selection included Satakentia Palm (Satakentia liukiuensis) a rare palm from the southern islands of Japan with an incredible burgundy colored crown shaft. Jata Palm (Copernicia rigida) from Cuba with sculptural triangular-shaped fronds. Old Man Palms (Coccothrinax crinite) are selected for the unique fuzzy trunk and Bottle Palms (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis) for the vase-shaped trunk.

The lighting scheme for the space is simple, using soft LED up-lights for the specimen palms and linear LED for the benches. The benches with the linear light underneath appear to be floating over the porcelain wood floor.

In this project the landscape architect fused together planting and hardscape to create an intimate garden terrace framing the magnificent views.



Entrant office name: Landscape Design Workshop
Role of the entrant in the project: Landscape Architect
Project location (State or Country): Key Biscayne, Florida
Design year: 2013
Year Built: 2014


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