Spaces: Easy Breezy

A former crawl space gives rise to an airy waterfront hangout.

Photograph by Chris Becker. Design/Contracting by Ruhl Studio Architects. Contracting by Skinner and Watkins.

The Problem

Newly enacted flood-zone regulations in Rockport required architect Will Ruhl to alter the design of his new home—by lifting it 4 feet off the ground.

The Solution

Rather than simply raise the crawl space to ground level, Ruhl, principal at Ruhl Studio Architects, elevated the home a total of 8 feet to transform its underbelly into a weather-resilient open-air porch that allows both sea breezes and, if necessary, storm surges to flow through it. Ruhl embraced the structure’s raw concrete makeup, which he says blends with nearby granite boulders. “We didn’t cover the concrete columns with anything because we wanted Mother Nature to grind [them] down over time,” Ruhl explains. Cedar ceilings add warmth to the porch, making it a cozy spot for lounging, dining, and—perhaps most important—enjoying the view.