Mass House Study

Analysis of a tropical house

Alfred Browning Parker’s Mass House exemplifies a “tropical house” that stayed true to his two key ingredients of good architecture, “it must be useful and beautiful.” Many of the techniques employed out of necessity due to lack of building technology are what modern sustainable designs strive to achieve. Building orientation and openness maximize the cooling effect of prevailing winds while the wood and stone construction takes advantage of local materials.

A term project of selecting and documenting the Mass house lead to the production of presentation drawings and a model showcasing tropical design principles. Unfortunately this prime example of tropical architecture no longer stands today. Both the documentation and the model were based on original construction drawings provided by the Alfred Browning Parker Collection.

The model was part of a gallery exhibition in the spring of 2011 featuring Parker’s work and now remains on permanent display at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

University of Miami
Tropicalism and Tropical Architecture, Spring 2011
Instructor: Allan Shulman