The Outdoor Living Room


  • Hayley Marie Gillette School of Architecture, University of Florida
  • Vandana Baweja School of Architecture, DCP



Florida home, outdoor living, regional architecture, threshold, transition


In the 1940s and 50s, Florida modernist architects developed a regional house—The Florida Tropical Home—that the Miami architect Robert Law Weed (1897–1961) inaugurated with his design of the Florida Tropical Home at the 1933 Century of Progress Fair in Chicago. One of the attributes of the Florida Tropical Home was the unification of indoor and outdoor spaces, through a fusion of landscape architecture and the interior of the house. Architects deployed multiple design strategies to achieve this fusion of indoors and outdoors. An annual architecture magazine—Florida Architecture—documented the increasing unification of indoor-outdoor spaces from the 1940s into the 50s. The magazine’s editorial advisory board comprised progressive architects such as—Weed, Wahl Snyder (1910–1989), Igor Polevitzky (1911–1978), Robert Little (1915–1982), and Alfred Browning Parker (1916–2011)—whose projects were featured as experiments in tropical homes. This paper will investigate how the Florida Tropical Home in the 1940s and 50s redefined the relationship between indoors and outdoors— from one of separation to one of unification. Through an analysis of the homes published in Florida Architecture, this study concludes that the architects developed a Florida regional architecture that was based on new relationships between indoors and outdoors.


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