Architect Allan Shulman tackled one of Miami’s biggest architectural challenges when he designed a two-story home on a leafy lot dominated by a “solution hole,” a depression in the limestone terrain caused by erosion. Inspired by the jungle scenery of painter Henri Rousseau, Shulman strove to leave the delicate habitat undisturbed. “It didn’t seem like the kind of landscape you wanted to go trudging through with your boots, but one that you wanted to observe with detachment,” he explains.
To achieve that, Shulman situated the stepped house between the forested basin and a sunny clearing, incorporating unique features that showcase the site’s distinct flora and fauna. At the front of the property, a glass-enclosed living room and two decks cantilever out over the hole for an immersive view, while a floating boardwalk lets residents actually wander through it. “We were trying to emphasize how precious the landscape is,” he says.
Since the front yard functions as a nature preserve, Shulman planned a more inhabitable backyard space, accessible through a first floor breezeway. Bordered by pavers and Mondo grass, its placid swimming pool and outdoor kitchen exhibit all the manicured precision of a David Hockney painting. These contrasting environments mean residents can experience the best that Miami has to offer—tropical beauty and suburban luxury—without ever leaving home.