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Hilton Head Beach House

Ocean Residence in Hilton Head, SC, completed 2011
Matt Taylor, Architect
May River, Contractor

Lowcountry-modern oceanfront residence.

This oceanfront residence, of 12,000 sf and lowcountry-modern architectural design, is located within a high-end, private community on Hilton Head Island, SC. The architectural style (large cantilevers, vast expanse of glass and the distinct wall construction) demanded unique use of structural framing, including: concrete, steel and cross-laminated timber (CLT). At the time of construction considered to be one of the first uses of this type of decking system.


At the time, the largest windows on the east coast tested for wind loading; testing criteria included wind pressure and impact for 130 mph winds (ASD level). In addition to the structural requirements the glass also had to meet energy code and local ‘turtle glass’ requirements.
To achieve a lowcountry-modern look and obtain approval by the HOA architectural review board, numerous aspects of the building created interesting design challenges requiring innovative solutions, to name a few:

– architect’s personal challenge to eliminate exposed connections

– use of large single and double cantilever spans

– large span glass openings

– new product considerations with CLT/mass timber decking

– beach location necessitating hurricane loading requirements. One aspect of consideration for hurricane impact is the scour of the foundation. Designed with concrete auger cast foundation pile support, in the event of scour the house will still be secure.

– within the vicinity of Charleston, SC, seismic and liquefaction requirements were also accounted for

Above ground endless-edge pool with aquarium glass.
Glass handrail. This seemingly minor detail took some extensive research and calculations to ensure the glass was adequately designed to meet loading requirements. It has to withstand 200 lbs of force in any direction.
Auger cast piling extends 65’ into ground to mitigate against scour due to high velocity flood waters as well as liquefaction during earthquakes.
Construction of pool and pool stairs.
Steel embed later used to support stainless steel beams on the rear deck. There was concern that deck beams would cause rebar corrosion. With the plate being stainless, contact with rebar was avoided.
Adjacent photograph illustrates: 1) Connection and support of CLT on steel beam. 2) How CLT was C&C’d at corner for steel.
Integration of wood and concrete.