Summer-Ready Modern Pavilion in South Carolina

Summer-Ready Modern Pavilion in South Carolina

By Kelsey Keith
Stephen Yablon Architect reimagines the stilt-house typology for a cutting-edge modern addition to a home in South Carolina's Lowcountry.

Raising up a house on stilts is no new idea for coastal homebuilding—see Malaysia, the Philippines, and the Gulf Coast of the United States. Now areas like the Lowcountry of South Carolina are stipulating that ground-up homes comply with regulations to limit damage from storms and flooding: not just stilts, but increasing structural stiffness, using hurricane-resistant doors and windows, and setting back buildings to preserve protective dunes.

SYA used standing-seam metal for the rear cladding of the addition, a common local roofing material. Photo: Michael Moran.

New York-based Stephen Yablon Architect met these restrictions while breaking architectural ground in Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, a somewhat traditional beach community outside of Charleston. A London couple lives in the house full-time over the summer, and requested an addition to their existing abode in order to entertain more frequently. Yablon added more social space, both indoor and outdoor, as well as guest rooms, an office, and a kitchenette in a pavilion structure raised 12 feet above grade.

Stephen Yablon Architect's guest pavilion is a modern interpretation of a local Charleston building style—the single, a long box usually one-room-wide in order to capitalize on cross breezes. It's clad in louvers fabricated from sustainably-harvested ipe wood, which resists moisture in humid climates. Photo: Michael Moran.

According to Yablon, "Most raised coastal homes use the space underneath for storage or parking." Here, however, he programmed a shaded veranda into the overhang, adjacent to a 66-foot trapezoidal infinity pool. "The addition is treated like a boat," says the firm, "with the typical under-house mechanical elements neatly incorporated above in storage spaces and built-in furniture." 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.

Underneath the raised pavilion, the architect carved out an updated version of the classic Southern veranda. This one sports a minimalist outdoor kitchen and all-white accents with a cypress ceiling.

Other functional design elements include floor-to-ceiling hurricane windows and louvered screens makde of sustainably-harvested ipé, a tropical hard wood resistant to humidity. The landscape design incorporates native plants while minimizing the amount of lawn and impermeable surfaces, significantly reducing storm water run-off and the need for extensive irrigation.

The interior of the guest pavilion designed by Stephen Yablon Architect packs a lot of uses into a 1,500 square foot space, which feels generous thanks to liberal use of glass, functioning windows to encourage a cross-breeze, open layout, built-in furniture, concealed pocket doors, and bright white palette. Photo: Peter Frank Edwards.

A sleek galley kitchen packs function and style into a small space.

A section of a Sullivan's Island beach house shows the covered veranda space underneath the 1,500 square foot addition.


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