Like the South Carolina lowcounty, the landscape of South Florida is a lush and verdant garden. One of my favorite locales in South Florida are the gardens of Vizcaya. If you haven't been there, Vizcaya is a historic estate in Coconut Grove resplendent with fabulous architecture and grandly scaled gardens on par with some of europe's finest. Those are two things that we value here at Archidemic, so it is a favorite spot of ours whenever we are in Miami.
The estate's architecture and gardens are italian renaissance with baroque elements. The materials have a rich patina as only time can produce. Upon entering through the impressive gates guests meander to the main residence; an impressive italian villa set on over forty acres of waterfront real estate. The house is organized around a large central courtyard with plentiful views to the water and gardens. The wishes of our clients today are not much different.
While the villa is memorable and not to be missed, it is the gardens that steal the day. A long slow rise in the land (artificially made in flat South Florida) terraces the gardens from the villa up towards a garden folly, an open air loggia flanked by two enclosed rooms. We have used similar structures, albeit of different vernacular design in many of our projects. The garden itself, while a handsome study in symmetry and balance, holds several welcomed surprises for those who wander its shaded paths. In addition to the previously mentioned folly are a sunken secret bromeliad garden, an amazing filigree styled network of water troughs, a gazebo on the waters edge, and a hidden grotto pool.
Perhaps the most iconic of the follies is the one set in Biscayne bay itself. Known as the barge, it once had summer house quarters on board. I have had the priviledge of working with amazing clients on projects at scales beyond most layman's conception of what a residence is. This element however has never been on one of our clients wishlist. Its always good to know that there is always something more that can be imagined.