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  Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News     
          Monthly Newsletter
November 2015
In This Issue


Topic of the Month: An Art Deco Inspired Residence in Sarasota, Florida

Architectural Firm of the Month: Solstice Architects

Helpful Links for Architects     

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Welcome to the November issue of our newsletter! In each issue we present you with interesting and informative articles about the various projects architects and designers are working on around the country. If there is a project you would like to share with us, please feel free to contact us and tell us about it! Your project could be featured in one of our upcoming issues of this newsletter. To learn more about our "high-end" cut-to-size Glacier Blue® Devonian Sandstone products, please click here to visit our website.

Photograph Courtesy Camille Pyatte 
At Solstice Architects, we want to change the way you live. Founded by Jonathan Parks, AIA and Christopher Arelt, AIA, Solstice has offices in Sarasota, Florida and Old Lyme, Connecticut. 

Our award-winning work is seen as a response to modernism - or more specifically - a return to regionalism and artistry, where clients' projects are developed with the "heads, hearts, and hands" of all those involved. The culture of the studio and how we collaborate with clients is an important part of our work and our history. 

For more information visit:

Photograph Courtesy Camille Pyatte 

In Sarasota, Florida there is a neighborhood called Cherokee Park that was planned in the 1920's by notable landscape architect John Nolen. Unfortunately, much of his vision was not realized because of the Great Depression and the subsequent world events that followed, but many years later lavish homes would be built in the area, many inspired by an art deco sensibility.
One such residence was designed by architect Jonathan Parks of Solstice Architects. The 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath home has a clean, modern look, a symmetrical plan and many intimate outdoor areas. Parks explains, "We chose to celebrate Nolen's initial concepts and master plan, designing a home with respect to the surrounding context of his landscape design."
"Homes of the 1920's did not have air conditioning and therefore indoor/outdoor, courtyard-style living was a necessity. We always design from the "inside-out" and in this case, we thought of the courtyards as the "inside" and worked our way out. The execution, however, is what gives it a contemporary aesthetic with simple, straightforward, and whitewashed forms."
The "white on white" concept was something that Parks had to push for. He explains, "I had to convince the team that we didn't need a red barrel tile roof to make an attractive home, which is more common to the Mediterranean Revival-style designs very common in our region. Ultimately, I think this result of the simple forms combined with "white on white" is what makes the home so unique."
The symmetrical plan, according to Parks, was less about the importance of symmetry than it was about balance. He explains, "Just as the courtyard plan of this home brings the outdoors in, the landscape extends the interior and mimics the architecture in style and function. At the front entry, visitors experience an open garden with a water feature before they walk into the entry hall.  As soon as you step into the rear courtyard, a fireplace mirrors the front entry's water feature. Every gesture, form, and space is in response to another."
The intimate outdoor spaces are unique and create different moods, and yet work together beautifully as one exterior space. Parks explains, "The rear outdoor area is comprised of six unique spaces that have been articulated using architectural and landscape elements: a moon garden, swimming pool, outdoor kitchen, courtyard, master bedroom garden, and formal lawn." Parks and his team worked closely with Landscape Architect, Michael A. Gilkey, Inc., as he explains, "to artfully define each space using architectural and landscape elements, while integrating the composition through form, repetition, views, and materials."
"The moon garden provides a shaded transition from the pool to the west side of the house. The swimming pool is anchored by a white wall that hides pool equipment and enhances the water's reflectivity. The outdoor kitchen extends the living area and offers grand vistas while enjoying shelter from the elements. The courtyard includes a fireplace and seating area and evokes a sheltered intimacy with glimpses of gardens beyond. The master bedroom garden invites one from the interior space into a private outdoor retreat. The formal lawn, made of drought-tolerant zoysia turf, is ideal for family activities and creates a grand view across the yard."

"Florida-friendly plants and Waterwise irrigation practices were implemented. Tree canopies create ceilings, hedges create walls, shrubs accent the 'rooms,' hardscape elements form the floor, and paving pattern breaks act as thresholds. The result is an indoor/outdoor environment that balances simple, usable spaces within an overall unity, creating an atmosphere of organic beauty."

One challenge was to design the home on a narrow lot, and at the same time, as Parks explains, "give it a presence that parallels the neighboring homes, many of which are sited on lots twice its size. The solution was to design a long, horizontal floorplan with a fully separated wing for the master suite, but create a composite balance with strong vertical elements that don't overpower the essence of the home. This was achieved through the design of four tall, geometric chimneys. Each chimney was placed with precision, carefully considering their relationships with the overall elevations and their interior/exterior uses. A triangular cast-stone chimney cap serves to strengthen the geometric forms, hiding the spark arrestors, and protecting the flue from rain. As form follows function, the chimneys are used to support fires for the Living Room fireplace, the Courtyard fireplace, the outdoor grille, and as a chase for Master Bathroom plumbing vents."

The project took six months to design and another year to construct. 

Helpful Links for Architects

AIA Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) 

The Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN), a Knowledge Community of The American Institute of Architects, is committed to the promotion of all residential architecture based on architectural content irrespective of style. For more information visit:  

AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community

The AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations. Through the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, important links are maintained with allied professionals, service providers, and manufacturers. If you wish to become a member of the AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, call AIA Member Services at 800-242-3837, or visit: 


Architect Online's Continuing Education Center

Architect Online's Online Continuing Education Center gives professionals a convenient way to earn necessary continuing education credits without having to set foot in a classroom. The courses listed, sponsored by the companies noted, are accessible from anywhere you can establish an online connection. Just register, read the required material, and then take the test, either through a downloadable mail-in form, or free via a secure online connection, depending on the course. You'll be able to maintain your professional credentials, at your pace, and at a location that works for you. Visit: 



Architectural Record Continuing Education Center

Architectural Record magazine has a free Continuing Education Center where architects can earn AIA Continuing Education Credits online. Visit:

Architectural Record Discussion Forums

The McGraw Hill Construction Community, publisher of Architectural Record, has provided architects with a forum to express ideas, opinions, suggestions, and gripes. The discussion forums are open to all, and include topics such as Green Building Projects, Virtual Design, Practice Matters and a forum for younger architects. Visit:

CORA - Congress of Residential Architecture 

CORA is a grass root organization that encourages our members to participate in the dialog of improving residential architecture in a way that suits them best. The purpose of the CORA is to provide a continuing forum for advocating and enhancing residential architecture by all individuals, both professionals and non-professionals, that share a common interest in improving the quality of the homes and communities we live in. Visit: 

The Green Meeting Industry Council

The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is a non profit 501(c)(6) membership-based organization. Their goal is to encourage collaboration within the meetings industry toward the development of green standards that will improve the environmental performance of meetings and events on a global basis. The GMIC is the only professional green meetings organization that is a member of the Convention Industry Council. For more information visit: 


The World Architecture Community
The World Architecture Community invites all architects to create a free profile on their website. The World Architecture Portal is a unique comprehensive international directory and catalog of contemporary architecture where all architects, scholars and institutions may submit their work and links to share with colleagues from around the world.
For more information visit:

We hope you enjoyed our informative monthly e-newsletter. For questions, comments or more information, please e-mail or call us today.





Liz Benton, Editor 
Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News
Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.

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