This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle

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By Laura C. Mallonee / Published by Dwell
A contemporary residence makes the most of its one-of-a-kind landscape.

Architect Allan Shulman tackled one of Miami’s biggest architectural challenges when he designed a two-story home on a leafy lot dominated by a "solution hole," a depression in the limestone terrain caused by erosion. Inspired by the jungle scenery of painter Henri Rousseau, Shulman strove to leave the delicate habitat undisturbed. "It didn’t seem like the kind of landscape you wanted to go trudging through with your boots, but one that you wanted to observe with detachment," he explains.

This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle - Photo 1 of 12 - The house is located in the Camp Biscayne area of Coconut Grove, a neighborhood in Miami. Its main volume is clad in Prodema.

The house is located in the Camp Biscayne area of Coconut Grove, a neighborhood in Miami. Its main volume is clad in Prodema.

To achieve that, Shulman situated the stepped house between the forested basin and a sunny clearing, incorporating unique features that showcase the site’s distinct flora and fauna. At the front of the property, a glass-enclosed living room and two decks cantilever out over the hole for an immersive view, while a floating boardwalk lets residents actually wander through it. "We were trying to emphasize how precious the landscape is," he says.

This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle - Photo 2 of 12 - A wooden boardwalk twists through the verdant site.

A wooden boardwalk twists through the verdant site.

Since the front yard functions as a nature preserve, Shulman planned a more inhabitable backyard space, accessible through a first floor breezeway. Bordered by pavers and Mondo grass, its placid swimming pool and outdoor kitchen exhibit all the manicured precision of a David Hockney painting. These contrasting environments mean residents can experience the best that Miami has to offer—tropical beauty and suburban luxury—without ever leaving home. 

This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle - Photo 3 of 12 - The cantilevered upper volume shades a deck on the ground floor.

The cantilevered upper volume shades a deck on the ground floor.

This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle - Photo 4 of 12 - Thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass, the home feels like it's part of the landscape.

Thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass, the home feels like it's part of the landscape.

This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle - Photo 5 of 12 - An elegant pool and outdoor kitchen extend from the living areas.

An elegant pool and outdoor kitchen extend from the living areas.

This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle - Photo 6 of 12 - The interiors feature neutral, muted tones in order to highlight the views of the property.

The interiors feature neutral, muted tones in order to highlight the views of the property.

This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle - Photo 7 of 12 - The ground level contains the living and dining spaces. Upstairs there are two bedrooms, plus the master suite.

The ground level contains the living and dining spaces. Upstairs there are two bedrooms, plus the master suite.

This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle - Photo 8 of 12 - A view of the kitchen.

A view of the kitchen.

This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle - Photo 9 of 12 - Echoing the facade, dark stone and wood are used throughout the interiors.

Echoing the facade, dark stone and wood are used throughout the interiors.

This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle - Photo 10 of 12 - An outbuilding on the opposite side of the property is used as a game room.

An outbuilding on the opposite side of the property is used as a game room.

This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle - Photo 11 of 12 - The structure is surrounded by a large deck for play.

The structure is surrounded by a large deck for play.

This Modern Miami House Feels Like It's in the Middle of the Jungle - Photo 12 of 12 - "It didn’t seem like the kind of landscape you wanted to go trudging through with your boots, but one that you wanted to observe with detachment," architect Allan Shulman says.

"It didn’t seem like the kind of landscape you wanted to go trudging through with your boots, but one that you wanted to observe with detachment," architect Allan Shulman says.