Location : delray beach, FL
Area : 3,250 S.F.
Phase : construction documents
The Vertical Forest is testament to a construct that incorporates the technology and Florida’s natural landscape. The buildings’ design outcome creates a hyper efficient zero-scape that uses Florida’s true native landscape and atypical American climate to its advantage for comfort, aesthetics, carbon reduction and energy savings. The concept was born from a study of Florida’s historic “scrub areas” that have been conserved throughout the state as reserves for wildlife and resilient native plants. Raccoons, Opossums, Gopher Turtles, Scrub Jays and many more native animals call these areas home. They are also a breeding ground of the natural landscape of Florida and its wildlife as it should be.
The homes idea was to create a native “scrub area” on the southern exposure not only for aesthetic reasons but also as a zero-scape garden that would shade the vertical front and the front yard area. When entering the house the ground floor would be open and non-air conditioned creating an open resilient cabana on the first floor in case of flooding from hurricanes and rain storms that are typical on the Florida coast. The front wall is made of concrete insulated forms (ICF) construction which incorporates recycled foam and plastics with steel rebar and concrete. The result is a façade that is void of windows and rich in native landscape that preserves native species and provides value in energy savings.
Other surprises happen behind the Vertical Forest as it transforms into an open platform to the north taking in the soft northern light and the cooling breeze of the Intracoastal Waterway while blocking out the harsh energy of the southern exposure. The terracing is deliberately open to the water where views and cool breezes are constant. The house also harnesses the heat from the southern exposure in photo voltaic panels on one side of the skylights while opening the other side of the skylight to the mild northern light. The solar panels power a 10 KW battery that runs the electric throughout the home and also powers motor vehicles in the garage. Floors and walls are covered in Florida’s natural coral stone and wood throughout is sourced from some of the same plant species that exist in the buildings front.
In many ways the house not only aims to be resilient, native and efficient but also stylistic in its form and two sided design. The Vertical Forest is truly a veil or a curtain of nature that combines the fantasy of nature with modern living.