An elegant modern addition to a traditional beach house, renovated by SYA years earlier, forms a dramatic backdrop to a 66’ long infinity pool and creates an expansive outdoor gathering space for family and guests. The pavilion is raised above hurricane flood level and finished beneath to provide shaded living spaces cooled by sea breezes. The pool-facing wall, which is glass to maximize natural light and views to the pool and beach, is screened by sustainably forested wood louvers. Natural ventilation is enabled by the structure’s narrow width and operable windows on each side. The interiors are spacious, light-filled, and connected to the pool as a result of the window wall, an open plan divisible by concealed pocket doors, a simple minimal palette, and carefully framed views. The pavilion, a modern interpretation of a traditional Charleston, South Carolina house, a long narrow box shaded by a long porch, is highly responsive to its site and climate and creates a strong connection to the regional culture.
“Raising up a house on stilts is no new idea for coastal homebuilding. Now areas like the Low Country of South Carolina are stipulating that ground up homes comply with regulations to limit damage from storms and flooding. New York-based Stephen Yablon Architect met these restrictions while breaking architectural ground in Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina.”
Kelsey Keith, Dwell Magazine
“[The] new Guest Pavilion is a real triumph.”
Robert Behre, Architecture Critic, The Charleston Post and Courier
Sullivan’s Island: a barrier island community near Charleston, South Carolina. The island is designated as a FEMA Coastal High Hazard Area, requiring the lowest floor of structures to be elevated above the 100 year flood line, as much as 14’ above grade. Typical single family homes on the island are wood framed, raised on tightly-spaced timber piles with the areas beneath enclosed with wood lattice and used only for open-air storage and parking.
The design of the pavilion takes many cues from the traditional Charleston House. Positioned to one side of the typically small lots these narrow houses with exterior porch maximize cross ventilation while minimizing sun exposure during the summer months.
Structure and Cladding
The pavilion’s structural system, a rigid steel cage without any interior support columns or walls, provides superb hurricane resistance and allows for open airy interiors. Because steel can span longer than wood framing, typically used in most beach homes, the monumental concrete support columns can be spaced far apart, creating a grand, Southern-style shaded space under the house. Floor to ceiling hurricane-resistant windows facing the pool are screened by louvers made of sustainably-harvested ipé, a tropical hard wood resistant to humidity. A standing seam metal façade with small punched openings facing the lot line maximizes privacy.