How Waterfront Architecture Differs from Inland Architecture

Good architecture is inspired by its natural environment.

There are different elements we take into consideration when designing a waterfront home, compared to an inland home, including how it structurally fits into the landscape.

Waterfront properties exist on the edge, and thereby deserve cutting-edge architectural design. Waterfront homeowners have their own piece of coast that is exclusive to them, and it’s our job to tease out the structure’s potential using the environment around it. Below, we discuss the ways waterfront architecture requires a different architectural approach compared to inland homes.

Making the Most of the Land

When we approach waterfront architecture, we let the landscape and coast define the direction of our design. Depending on where they are located, coastal homes have a front-row seat to sunrises or sunsets. Natural light is in abundance. As architects, we have the unique challenge of making the most out of the ever-changing sunlight to maximize the natural light in the home.

By using the shape of the land and along with the angles of the sun, the home can be designed specifically around these aspects, with windows strategically placed, so there is always a waterfront view and well-lit interiors. While this design intention is important for inland homes, the necessity is two-fold for waterfront homes.

Elements of the Coast

The interior and exterior designs of a waterfront home should mimic the surrounding landscape. To create a seamless experience, the home’s architecture might mimic the flow of the water, with rounded edges and shapeless curves rather than sharp lines.

In our House on Point project, the structure curves out to sea like a wave; the few interior walls bend with the house and slope to accommodate its form.

In the interior of the home, the stairway curves gently up to the second floor like liquid; what looks like the bow of a ship cuts into the hallway beneath. We consider elements like these to be nautical necessities in waterfront architecture.

Luxury and Individuality

Waterfront architecture should be as unique and singular as the piece of coast that you own. That’s where custom design comes in. Not only should the detailing and imagery of your home suggest the sea, but every aspect and angle of the home should be designed for the discerning eye.

In waterfront architecture, the back of the house is not hidden, but on display to boaters and other waterfront homeowners. This is typically why the back of the house is designed with the same intention as the front of the house in terms of look and style. Sometimes, the back of the house is considered the front of the house, and main focal point, in waterfront architecture. This is why it’s important to infuse every aspect of your individuality and unique style into the design of your project, a luxurious treasure on an unobstructed coastline.

Want to Learn More About Waterfront Architecture?

Hallmark of a Christopher Pagliaro Architects project is the marriage of the structure and site to create a sense of place. To get started on your waterfront home project, get in touch with our team today.

Let's start a dialogue