Port Elizabeth, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
“The main inspiration for the Sail House was a wooden boat with its masts and sails, the expressed stainless steel rigging and hardware, which is referenced in the home,” states David Hertz of David Hertz Architects, Studio of Environmental Architecture.
Designed by David Hertz and his team, Sail House is a dappled array of structures, consisting of a primary residence and several guesthouses.
The project is named for the nautical-inspired tensile roofs, which are a contextual response to the Grenadines’ sailing culture and environmental building systems.
Since construction in the Caribbean can be difficult with its limited resources, the buildings were prefabricated and flat-packed to the island in 15 shipping containers.
The goal of the shipping process was to maximize density and efficiency with zero-waste.
The prefabricated structure is set upon a concrete box that acts as a cistern for water collection and anchors the residence to the ground.
It allows the aluminum beams to be cantilevered off the base, providing minimal impact on the jungle.
“Sustainability was one of the main goals of the Sail House project,” states David Hertz, David Hertz Architects, Studio of Environmental Architecture.
“The non-corrosive and termite-resistant aluminum structural system is wrapped in reclaimed ironwood planks recycled from an abandoned pier in Borneo, as are the plank floors, decks, and the vertical louvers that control low sun and prevailing breezes.”
Other interior/exterior finishes are panels made of woven palm, coconut shell fragments, and many other natural, highly crafted surfaces created by Javanese and Balinese craftsmen.
Sustainable features include stormwater collection, reclaimed wood, passive ventilation, and photovoltaic panels.
The project generates its own electricity, collects its own water, and provides a genuine indoor/outdoor relationship conducive to the local micro-climate.
The tensile roof membranes provide deep shade and large overhangs from the equatorial sun,not achievable from a typical rigid roof.
The roofs create a swooping form designed to collect rainwater and create a thermal chimney to exhaust heat out of the top by maximizing cross ventilation.
Collected water in the cisterns in the foundations is used to draw cooler air up through the central mast to cool the house if needed.
Rain and dew that fall on the large roof areas are directed to the stainless-steel clamp plates at the roof edges, collecting and funneling water into the structural aluminum masts and down to the concrete foundations.
The foundation dually functions as large cisterns that provide 100% water demands for use on the property.
The annual water needs are produced on-site in this manner, proving that resilience can be both beautiful and tactical.
Project: Sail House
Architects: David Hertz Architects, Studio of Environmental Architecture
Design Team: David Hertz, Eric Lindeman, and Stephan Schilli
House Fabrication: TomaHouse
Photographers: Nicola Cornwell