Guest Pavilion

The Guest Pavilion is a modern, storm-resilient retreat for Southern beach living.

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.

The new addition forms a large outdoor space focused on the pool.
The new addition forms a large outdoor space focused on the pool.
The pavilion is raised above the hurricane flood plain creating a unique shaded living space underneath
The pavilion is raised above the hurricane flood plain creating a unique shaded living space underneath
Shaded living space cooled by sea breezes coming over the pool
Shaded living space cooled by sea breezes coming over the pool
Metal siding and punched openings along the lot line
Metal siding and punched openings along the lot line
Main entry stair
Main entry stair
Local materials include Southern Pine floors and Southern Oak veneer millwork. Photograph by Peter Frank Edwards.
Local materials include Southern Pine floors and Southern Oak veneer millwork. Photograph by Peter Frank Edwards.
View from office
View from office
Kitchenette
Kitchenette
Stair to second floor
Stair to second floor
A simple dramatic addition creates a grand outdoor living space
A simple dramatic addition creates a grand outdoor living space

Context

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.

Sullivan's Island beach
Sullivan's Island beach
Typical barrier island home
Typical barrier island home
Raise pavilion on widely-spaced columns to create outdoor living space
Raise pavilion on widely-spaced columns to create outdoor living space

Environmental Approach

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.

Typical Charleston House
Typical Charleston House

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.

Structure: Steel moment frame on concrete columns
Structure: Steel moment frame on concrete columns
Wood louver mock-ups
Wood louver mock-ups

Process