This residence is one of several houses built around a circular plaza in Seaside, Florida. To meet the client’s expectation of privacy from the street, the house was designed around an internal courtyard created between the house and garage. A three-story porch looks out onto the courtyard and from the top level, is a perfect place for a view south over the tree canopy and houses of the city to the ocean beyond. Setting the main entry of the house back from the street and placing trees and plantings to respect the client’s request for privacy also provides some visual relief to the densely built plaza. Along with meeting the client’s desire for a comfortable and private house, designing this residence presented the opportunity for the architects to realize an urban planning vision that has long gone unfulfilled. A gabled three-story tower designed by Leon Krier directly across the secondary street from this house has long stood alone; Krier’s tower anticipated the building of a complementary structure on the opposite side of the street, and it is not until now, over a decade later that this vision has been realized. The two towers together now frame the axial view down the secondary street from the courtyard at the center of the round plaza.
Founded in 1992 in Houston, Texas, Curtis & Windham Architects began as a general practice of architecture evolving to later include landscape architecture and interior design. Since the beginning, principals Bill Curtis and Russell Windham have shared a mutual interest in making buildings that combine a deep respect for architectural history with a well-studied knowledge of traditional and classical principals and detailing. Both Mr. Curtis and Mr. Windham began careers outside their native Texas before returning to establish their practice in Houston. Formative time spent in Washington D.C. and London, respectively, established in each a reverence for architectural history, urban context and the value of precedent. The eclectic nature of their work demonstrates a thorough command of traditional architecture in the broadest sense, while their ability to create a vernacular architecture that can gracefully accommodate a modern lifestyle evidences both a commitment to their clients' needs and the continued relevance of traditional and classical design. The landscape studio of Curtis & Windham, established in 2005, designs and coordinates work both independently and in close collaboration with the architecture studios. Combining the expertise of both disciplines affirms the ability of Curtis & Windham to design both interior and exterior environments conceived under a unified vision. The talented individuals that comprise Curtis & Windham Architects represent a variety of backgrounds and career paths, each contributing to the practice a unique set of experiences. All architects and designers in the practice are dedicated to the ideals of the firm: a high standard of design and a deep appreciation for traditional architecture. A collaborative spirit as well as the dedication to a high standard of operation at all stages of design and construction is reflected in the quality of work produced by Curtis & Windham Architects.
Essay taken from Curtis & Windham Architects website.