Project: Le Cabanon
Architects: Rick Joy Architects
Location: Turks and Caicos Islands
Area: 3,150 sf
Photographs by: Joe Fletcher
Le Cabanon by Rick Joy Architects
The Le Cabanon project is a family retreat designed by Rick Joy Architects. This beautiful contemporary structure seamlessly blends into its coastal surroundings on an island near the southwest coast of Providenciales. Its layout is simple, with a terrace connecting private living areas to a living-dining-kitchen pavilion, and a pool bringing the ocean water closer to the living spaces.
Near the southwest coast of the Providenciales, an island in the Turks and Caicos archipelago, Rick Joy Architects designed a family retreat whose privacy and quietness are cut through by the coastal breezes and long rays of tropical sun. On approach from the adjacent road, the multipartite complex appears to organically grow out of the site’s natural coastline, its subtly textured eggshell concrete contrasting the bright turquoise water in the same way as the white sand that lines the shallow inlet. Taking visual cues from lush surroundings, which also include iron shore rock and verdant native vegetation, the architects produced tactile links between the building and its site: mahogany doors, windows and ceilings capture the warmth of the surroundings, while small, precisely placed openings let just the right doses of greenery inside.
The plan of the house is deceptively simple: a generously sized terrace serves as the link between the private living areas to the west and a living-dining-kitchen pavilion to the east. This first volume, a long, slender bar, shields the rest of the house from the noise and movement on the adjacent street. The strategy works—from the interior, the spaces feel secluded and protected, and the ocean views from the kitchen pavilion seem entirely exclusive. This space sits quietly against the water, not quite indoors and not quite outdoors. Its asymmetric single-hip roof captures a generous interior space, and a single operable triangular window at its leeward tip creates gentle airflow, supplementing the deliberately designed cross-breezes that negate the need for air conditioning. Just outside, a shallow pool cuts a line between the sand and the adjoining terrace, bringing the expanse of ocean water ever closer to the living spaces.
The entire house is full of immersive moments like this one. From the corridors, the concrete walls create shallow view-angles that reveal glimpses of each subsequent space and simultaneously frame the sky above. Constructed by local builders trained by the construction team, the walls used locally sourced sand and aggregate, minimizing the need to import building materials. In a similar resource-conscious spirit, the architects placed a large cistern beneath the main terrace to harvest water and topped the flat sections of the roof with photovoltaic panels.
In the bedrooms, pendant lights hang like flower buds from the ceiling and long fronds peek in from the adjacent rock-bottomed gardens. Natural linen curtains billow in the ocean breeze and let through just the right amount of sunlight. Sometimes, fishermen pull up to the Ipé docks, offering the day’s catch. The result is a home that seems to bloom out of its site.