Marta Hansen designed a cabana on the Eastern Shore to mimic a historic well house.  Photo © Celia Pearson

Ask the Pros: Architecture

Advice on designing the perfect home by the bay

Describe the challenges and rewards of designing waterfront architecture, specific to the bay.

I have found that the rewards far outweigh the challenges when I’m designing a home on waterfront property. These sites have an inherent sense of place, and capturing and enhancing their unique features is what directs a great design. Framing views, integrating outdoor spaces, organizing rooms around natural daylight, preserving privacy and ensuring multiple fronts that open to the water—these factors add up to a composition where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To protect their uniqueness, waterfront properties also come with layers of complex environmental and zoning regulations. Thoroughly understanding these rules and regulations allows architects to take opportunities not initially obvious to those with less experience.

—Marta Hansen, AIA, LEED AP, Hansen Architects, Annapolis, Maryland