The geometry of the Brillhart family, between art and architecture: the Brillhart House.

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Jennifer, Jacob and Melissa, sister, husband and wife respectively, shared a love of geometry in its artistic and architectural form.

Jennifer, before moving to Maine where she currently resides, has been a Fountainhead artist for several years. Her art is a sort of search for detail between geometric shapes of everyday objects, lights, shadows and landscapes. She participates and active in many exhibitions, the last one in Berlin and is currently represented by the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland.

Jacob, on the other hand, besides being an artist like his sister (he exhibited both the furniture projects and his watercolors, which are also present everywhere in the house) is a teacher at the faculty of architecture. He also designed and built with his wife Melissa (an architect as well, whom he met at the university) the Brillhart House: a splendid contemporary building immersed in the luxuriant nature of the centenary Spring Garden District.

The Good Neighbour, Folded, 2017 by Jennifer Brillhart

Completed in 2014, the Brillhart House is one of those houses that if you do not have the correct street number and an excellent navigator it is difficult to see, yet if you are lucky enough to arrive from the right angle it is equally difficult not to notice it because it stands out, completely covered in wood, in one of the oldest areas of Miami. The design of the house, which has made this construction a hymn to the modernist architecture, has simply satisfied some selection criteria, say the Brillhart: “Respect for the architectural canons of the context, sense of privacy, respect for nature and budget limited”.

The Brillhart House is a combination of glass and steel and eco-sustainable elements such as wood, collected and stored by Jacob’s father in his farm in New Hampshire from which it originates. The usage of steel and glass as an alternative to the usage of concrete, a superstructure that simplify the assembly, reduces the cost and time of construction, as well as better respects the environment. 

Porch on the back

With a floor area of ​​1581 square feet, Brillhart House was inspired by two traditional architectural styles revisited in a modern key: the vernacular, in terms of energy efficiency, ability to adapt to the particular conditions deriving from climate change in relation to available resources, and that of the Florida Cracker architecture and of the Dog Trot in terms of zone distribution, simplicity, rationality and efficiency. A tropical retreat in the center of Miami with some peculiar characteristics: it is composed of a steel and thickened glass superstructure supported by 12 exposed iron beams, and elevated one and a half meters from the ground (5 ‘), with four sets of sliding doors in glass that allow the house to be completely open when desired. On the outside two large porches (the back one and the front one composed of closable wooden doors which guarantee further privacy) overlook the splendid garden, arranged in respect of the palm trees that existed there before the construction was done, and enriched with selected plants that line the perimeter and the construction, isolating it from the rest, while being totally connected with the surrounding environment.

Bahamas Project House by Jacob and Melissa

A building made with the trappings of the past, in an area of ​​America that is often devoted to the choice of concrete and in which the choice of finishes dictated by a limited budget, has not affected the success of the project, rewarded by international magazines as one of the 100 Top projects in the United States of America.

The ideal house in the ideal place, and while the house is preparing for sale, through the Compass by Gary Feinberg, at a cost of $ 1,999,999 (not even much in hindsight) Jacob and Melissa are preparing to build version 2.0 of the Brillhart House in the Bahamas according to the model set up in the living room.


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