In sunny Miami, a revered architectural curiosity comes to market for the first time ever. The Brillhart House, an award-winning minimalist abode embedded into a verdant landscape, is listed for $2 million by Gary Feinberg of Compass Florida.
Miami architecture is routinely showy—Art Deco, sleek, tall, glossy, etc. Rarely is it reductive or isolated, seemingly uninterested in fanfare.
Located in downtown’s historic Spring Garden district, The Brillhart House has become the neighborhood’s architectural phenomenon—a simple-living metropolitan escape where its future homeowner can unplug from the rat race. It’s located only 10 minutes from the airport.
Owned and built by architects Jacob and Melissa Brillhart (of Brillhart Architecture) in 2014, the residence is architecturally acclaimed for its deep connection to mother earth and unorthodox modesty within the look-at-me-city limits. Winner of the AIA Florida Honor Award (2015) and AIA Miami Honor Award (2014), the home was featured on the Netflix/BBC series, The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes.
If The Brillhart House looks out of place, that’s intentional. Still Miami modern, the Balinese-style home could pass for an outdoorsy resort spa enveloped by nature, at first glance. But it’s so much more. Compact in size, it’s a big concept that deserves a closer look.
“The Brillharts took on the challenge of building small, painstakingly considering every detail and only included what was most necessary,” says Feinberg. “The house draws from a rich architectural heritage and also considers the atmospheric aspects of space. What was accomplished is an overwhelming sense of order, tranquility and well-being.”
Beneath a canopy of tropical foliage, the unique 18,942-square-foot property might have made Frank Lloyd Wright smile—for its natural materials, detailed craftsmanship, and seamless integration into the landscape. Parked on a half-acre, football-field-length lot, this humble one-level retreat exudes a tropical forrest vibe, privatized from all neighbors by nature and design.
The two-bedroom, two-bath home boasts façades of glass, steel, and natural wood shutters. It floats as an elevated glass pavilion refuge (raised five feet off the ground), set between two external glass verandas. The house offers 1,581 square feet of flexible living spaces—2,300 square feet if you choose to lounge on those tranquilizing porches at the front and back of the home.
Louvered and sliding glass doors privatize, shade and cool the house—casting shadows and breezy open-air vents for southeastern trade wind flow even on Miami’s hottest summer days (when the home can be completely opened up).
“The landscape and the long views make this estate extremely special—100 feet of uninterrupted glass brings the outside in and inside out,” says Feinberg. “Four sets of sliding glass doors allows the house to be completely open to nature.”
This compact, utilitarian design allowed the Brillharts to minimize the home’s budget and ecological impact on the land. The concept was inspired by architect Philip Johnson’s iconic Glass House, “Dog Trot” (or breezeway house) designs, the environment, and simplicity of life in the tropics.
“This house represents honest architecture,” says Feinberg. “It is good, clean and simple design. The house is perfectly blended to the neighborhood, rests gently on the landscape, and deals with climate in a direct and straight forward manner.”
Floor-to-ceiling windows expand the home’s open, airy ambiance and garden vistas while a variety of woods (such as real American cherry interior millwork) adds warmth to the design.
“The Buyer will be someone that wants to own an architectural masterpiece,” says Feinberg. “It is Miami’s ‘Falling Water.’ It would be a perfect weekend retreat for someone that needs to have a base in Miami or a local that wants to live in seclusion and tranquility but still convenient to Brickell, Miami Beach, Wynwood/Allapattah, Doral and Coconut Grove.”
Even amid all that verdant shade, an architectural phenomenon comes to light.