Text description provided by the architects. Among many other things, the Neugebauer House, which was completed in 1998, stands as a prime example of an architects ability to creatively design within the city codes and regulations while still maintaining the quality and style found in their other buidings.
As a prominent twentieth century architect who fuses main principles of design from his peers and fellow architects with his own, Richard Meier is known for his endless variations of a rather specific theme of white Neo-Corbusian form, mostly using enameled panels and glass. The emphasis on light, color, place, plain geometry and the interaction between all of the latter help Richard Meier & Partners Architects to design architecture that is clear, comprehensible, and easily admirable.
Situated in a prestigious residential community on a one-and-a-half acre waterfront site, this house faces southwest over Doubloon Bay. One approaches the wedge-shaped site, which fans out towards the water, from a winding avenue lined with royal palm trees. In forecourt of the house a square grove of twenty-five palms serves as foil to a freestanding cylindrical garage faced in limestone.
Since the turfed area of the forecourt is reinforced, pedestrians and cars are free to circulate across the greensward at will. Beyond, concealing the water, lies the horizontal facade of the house itself, clad in two by three foot limestone slabs backed by a concrete frame and masonry structure. Pierced at regular intervals by vertical slot windows, the facade conceals a wide, top-lit access corridor running the length of the house.
The linear organization consists of five parallel layers from front to back: access, service, living, sun terrace, and lap pool. A raised main entry penetrates the limestone wall of the front facade to give onto the corridor. A fifteen-foot module controls the structural bay and the incremental dimensions of all the cellular spaces. The main volumes, including both sleeping and living spaces, are arranged in a linear formation, affording each room an impressive view over the lap pool to the bay beyond.
The principal rooms and their attendant bathing, dressing. and (in one stance) cooking facilities are covered by a steel-frame butterfly roof cantilevered off paired steel stanchions at 15-foot centers. This roof, finished with a stone-paneled rain screen, satisfies the community requirement for a pitched roof while reinforcing the house's orientation toward the water.
This giant canopy/roof running is augmented by clerestory louvers made up of one-inch diameter horizontal aluminum tubes plus a ceramic frit superimposed on the zenithal glazing of the main corridor. The aluminum-frame curtain wall of the oceanfront is made of hurricane-resistant laminated glass.
Special thanks to Richard Meier & Partners Architects and Scott Frances ESTO for the images, drawings, data and description of the Neugebauer House.