Outer Banks, North Carolina 2014

North Carolina has the third largest concentration of Modernist houses in the country. At Southern Shores, three hundred “Flat Top” houses were built as affordable vacation cottages in the early postwar era. Today, thirty remain and only a handful, relatively unchanged. This house originally built circa 1953, is rare in that not only is it still intact, but that the landscape has remained uncompromised.

Renovated in the 1990’s the house and site are in need of refurbishment. This upgrade recognizes the opportunity to fully integrate both structures into a unified precinct, enlisting a new pool as the core landscape element that links the two.  It’s a deliberate act of both enhancement and preservation. The democratic ideals for remaking the American landscape emobdied in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian movement inspired the design of the Flat Tops. This project, with all humility, seeks to follow this tradition.

The project embodies a balance of intelligent investment with responsible stewardship. An upgraded landscape and new context-sensitive pool skillfully enhances the property’s postion in this valuable beachfront real estate market.

A series of fragmented landscape walls are employed to establish three terraces; one for play, one for swimming, one for entertaining. Break away concrete walls  glass fins, and a hornbeam hedge enclose the precinct. Unit pavers, bermuda lawn and raised wooden deck surfaces help define terrace use. A quincunx of live oaks shades  much needed parking.