Wainwright Beach House
Emerald Isle, North Carolina
Frank Harmon

Our client was a marine biologist and professor of biology. He purchased a picturesque site on North Carolina’s lovely Emerald Isle, which included a 5000-year-old sand dune. The site overlooks Bogue Sound. He wanted a modern vacation home that would be open to the water, sky, and the nearby forest, yet capable of withstanding the occasional hurricane that assaults the Carolina coast.

We planned the house around cross-ventilation and views. Two-story-clear windows in the living room allow summer winds to bring the sounds and scents of the ocean into the house while providing infinite views of water, sky, and forest. The roof terrace is the ideal place for sunbathing by day and observing the stars at night. Like the cabins on a ship, bedrooms are compact and efficient.

To satisfy the need for extreme weather resistance, the house’s structure includes built-up wood framing with galvanized-steel tie rods and connections that can withstand 130 mph winds. Walls are clad in fiber cement panels and stainless steel flashing. The roof deck features a tough synthetic surface that resists degradation from sun and weather.

1999 AIA NC Honor Award