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SAOTA: Pine Tree Miami – A Place of Luxury Living

Pine Tree is SAOTA’s first project to be completed in Miami. SAOTA’s design DNA is derived from the South African way of living which places an emphasis on the outdoors as people live both in and through their homes.

Captivated by the Miami climate and landscape potential the design embodies these principles; creating a landscape of experiences. With the challenges of a strongly linear proportioned site, SAOTA sought to spread the program across the site as much as possible. In direct contrast to a typical approach of a singular building element on the property, the design is porous, bringing the landscape into the interior of the house.

Through the introduction of a collection of introverted and extroverted courtyards, all aspects of the program have an immediate relationship to the outdoors.

On a practical level; the property is located between a busy road and a waterway; the waterway itself fronting onto a road. The design is as much about containment as it is about the views through it.


Multi-purpose basketball court creates a buffer to Pine Tree Drive, while creating a suspensive arrival experience as the user enters into the grand, serene forecourt. The bookmark in the rear of the property is a pool pavilion, a structure that provides a space for people to enjoy the immediacy of the water, both the pool and the waterway. Visually it’s a privacy device from the waterway, and restricts views into the pool area.

The concept of containment is perhaps best embodied in the screens that cloak the building. Primarily born out of the functional need for privacy and solar control; their application evolved to something far more significant as CNC punched anodised
aluminium becomes architectural jewellery.

The screens play with the character of light, heightening the experience of enclosure and transparency. In some instances they define spaces as with the double volume nature of the entrance, in others they facilitate the bedroom terraces becoming part of the bedroom – private, protected sanctuaries.

Where the screens are iconic and loud, the finishes are assertive but restrained. A key intent was to implement a finishes palette that was controlled and continuous, limiting the materials to a core few wherever possible. This ensured a cohesion both between spaces, but also the internal and external connections. It’s refined in a way that the spaces are comfortable in which to live.

Whilst the overall architectural design is a key focus of the SAOTA design team, this becomes secondary to the primary function of how the design will be actually be used. This drives how areas are positioned and connected; how the house lives.


This approach may seem counter intuitive to most architects however, prioritising use and function is one of the main reasons for SAOTA’s international success.

Contact: SAOTA

Project name: Pine Tree

Project Location: Miami, United States

Architects: SAOTA

Project Architects: Philip Olmesdahl, Mark Bullivant & Andrew Moerdyk

Architect of Record: DVICE Inc. – Dan Ritchie

Contractor: Brodson Construction

Interiors: Nils Sanderson

Lighting Consultant: Lux Populi

Landscaping: Raymond Jungles

Project Photographer: Dan Forer

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