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The homes designed by the world’s most renowned architects for their families usually have a different, very personal and particular style, which sets them apart from other commercial or residential projects. Very often, scholars and researchers look at these houses as stylistic references that reveal the real character of the architect.
Since completing his studies at Cornell University, Chad Oppenheim has been famous for a particular interest in sustainable architecture, clarity of focus and emphasis on the functionality of each project. He opened his architectural studio in 1999, and his works have received more than 60 international awards, including more than 40 AIA Awards, granted by the American Institute of Architecture. Today, his firm has offices in Miami, New York, and Basel, Switzerland.
You can find his buildings in more than 25 countries and, despite his overwhelming success, his works continue to demonstrate a clear design vocabulary that responds to the particular needs of his clients.
For his family home, the architect started with a dilapidated 1960s old ranch and turned it into an impressive property of over 9,000 square feet, inspired,—in his own words—by his wife’s beauty and his love for Miami. The aim was for the house to provide the optimal environment for family life in the city, from a minimalist but warm esthetic.
You enter the residence through an inner courtyard, which highlights a wall entirely built of cypress wood, where a reflecting pool and oculus align to activate the space with reflection and luminance. This area can be closed in with striking 22-feet-tall curtains. The prominent finishes of the exterior walls are coral stone, very typical of Florida.
Inside the house, there is a profusion of straight lines, light colors, generous spaces and a minimalist decor with carefully chosen furnishings. The best example of the style that permeates the entire house can be seen in the living room, which opens to the interior garden through huge windows. It has a very simple wooden table and benches, and an armchair made of teddy bears by award-winning designers Fernando and Humberto Campana. Another remarkable detail inside the house is its floating staircase, constructed from wooden slats that emerge from the wall and provide access to the upper floor.
The property expands towards the inner garden with a towering rectangular porch. This space is only interrupted by an imposing cylindrical column that adds drama to the design profile and hides a shower. The dark infinity pool features volcanic stone and a Jacuzzi in one of its corners. The pool’s dark color gives the architect a way to mimic the natural color palette of the marshes surrounding the city.
When visiting this lovely home, one can say that Villa Allegra is an excellent example of minimalism, creativity, simplicity, and tropical charm. This is a house that merges with the stunning surroundings of the beautiful city of Miami. ■