The house is one of a set of remarkable modernist houses in Gainesville, Florida which were designed and constructed in the 50’s and 60’s, and which are only now being recognized by the community as an important part of Florida’s cultural heritage. The new entry, studio, master bedroom and bath addition is complemented by the restoration of the original character of the house; 40 years of neglect and inappropriate additions were stripped away (with some help from hurricane winds) and the program of each room was reconsidered. Instead of being completely demolished after Hurricane Frances, the house now stands as a beautiful example of regional modernism.
In 2004, Hurricane Francis swept through North Central Florida, damaging inland as well as coastal areas. This modernist courtyard house, originally constructed in 1964, was designed for outdoor living and entertaining; during the storm it suffered severe damage and 1/3 of the house (original master bedroom/ bath, large areas of the pool courtyard, existing carport) was completely demolished.
Reconstruction was a process of sensitive reinterpretation. The architects decided to respect the original footprint of the house. The first significant change was the relocation of the main entry, which shifted from a formal, centered walk through a small courtyard, to a more direct and welcoming connection to the kitchen-garden and drive. The family required a studio space, to function as a family room, a bathtub (there was none in the original house) and insulation wherever new construction would permit.
The house was designed to put life on display. The new construction retains the characteristic use of stack bond cmu walls, cast-in-place concrete beams, and large sliding glass doors, while at the same time incorporating a palette of contemporary materials. Water is a constant and present element, with the pool and now the bath visible throughout the house.
Transparency and reflection make the house come alive with movement and shadow. The color and shine of the new bathroom tiles are jewel-like in contrast to the exposed concrete walls and beams in the surrounding rooms. The Cool Pool House has been transformed from a 60’s party house to a contemporary family home, and has retained its sparkle and spirit.