Awards presented at the American Institute of Architects’ annual gala reveal new trends in local design

Design Winners Lead the Way

By: Ann Taylor

This three-story, custom designed home is located on three-quarters of an acre at the crest of the secondary coastal dune running from Fort Pierce to Hobe Sound. It offers elevated views to the east of the Intracoastal Waterway and to the west of Savannas Preserve State Park.

Architect Thomas Cooper set out to design a hurricane-hardened, energy efficient residence that conserves natural resources and generates a portion of the house’s electrical needs with Photovoltaics, solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. The design also takes advantage of energy saving devices such as Energy Star appliances, a solar hot water heater, gas cooktop and outdoor grill.

“The core concept of the energy efficient design is the use of principles derived from the study of traditional mid-Florida vernacular architectural examples,” says Cooper, who along with his wife plans to live there. “The settlers in this part of the state used a raised house with large porches and overhangs. Each room had tall ceilings and cross-ventilation.” The judges were impressed with the wrap-around porches, use of  sustainable as well as energy-saving elements, and the fact that the design worked so well with the environment.

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