House on a Dune
Architect Chad Oppenheim, who has designed homes for the likes of movie director Michael Bay and projects for Pharrell, recently completed what he calls “House on a Dune,” a minimalistic, elegant and comfortable beach house that blends into its breathtaking surroundings in Harbour Island, Bahamas. The spectacular 3,000-square-foot 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 utilizing 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 for light and air to flow through the home to create optimal comfort. The central space of the house is essentially an open breezeway, allowing visual and pedestrian connectivity across the site. Within this pavilion space, there is 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. The home also holds many technological tricks that hide any visible light fixtures, outlets, air-conditioners or anything that is too modern age.
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.