Building the perfect beach house

Top Stories

Building the perfect beach house
Photo: Karen Fuchs

This private residence establishes a delicate, meditative space that ushers a transition from lush tropic landscape to wide languorous ocean.

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sat 25 Jul 2015, 11:10 AM

Last updated: Sat 25 Jul 2015, 1:23 PM

Harbour Island in the Bahamas is a paradise in pink sand. A second-home destination to several A-listers such as Elle Macpherson, Diane von Furstenberg and India Hicks, this is where architect Chad Oppenheim sited his latest project, his own home.
Chad, who has designed homes for the likes of movie director Michael Bay and projects for Pharrell, recently completed the house. He calls it "House on a Dune" and it is a minimalistic, elegant and comfortable beach house that blends into its breathtaking surroundings of Harbour Island. The spectacular 3,000-sq -ft waterfront private residence was designed to reconnect its inhabitants with nature, encouraging a greater consciousness of the elements and their manifestations.
In a time when architecture has become fixated with computer generated forms and over-the-top modern design, House on a Dune is elegant in its simplicity - designed to heighten ones experience of the beautiful island nature that surrounds the home and made to inspire and maximize pleasurable moments. It embodies a less invasive, primitive architecture of simplistic form, utilising ecologically sensitive materials and methodologies within the overall design. The elemental and livable architecture, free of clutter and unnecessary detail, allows for a more powerful and dramatic connection to place and time.
Inspired by the work of conceptual artist James Turrell, retractable glass walls on the East and West sides of the living area frame views of ocean, jungle and sky, while allowing light and sea breezes to flow through the home to create optimal comfort.
The central space of the house is essentially an open breezeway that allows visual and pedestrian connectivity across the site. Within this pavilion space, there are the living and dining areas that open onto large verandahs, well protected from the elements by the deep overhangs of the gabled roof. A kitchen and four bedrooms are simply arranged around the central space.
The materials for the home were selected for their distinctive sincerity, environmental sensitivity, and a resonance with the vernacular. Materials included concrete blocks, recycled cedar, reused ipe, and milk paint. The sliding doors are made of impact-resistant glass as well as a palm frond roof made of cedar shakes similar to the architectural styles of many of the homes on the island over the last several hundred years.
Modern technology makes its presence felt in the absence of any visible light fixtures, outlets, air-conditioners or anything that is too intrusive and well, modern.
This private residence establishes a delicate, meditative space that ushers a transition from lush tropic landscape to wide languorous ocean.
House on a Dune represents Chad Oppenheim's signature style, which is to create socially and environmentally conscious architecture. Whether it's a single-family home or large-scale urban project, hotel or resort, Oppenheim transforms the prosaic into the poetic - eliciting a site's inherent power through passion and sensitivity towards man and nature.

Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs
Photo: Karen Fuchs


More news from