Big House Made Small
The project challenge was to design a large contemporary home in a neighborhood with small conventional houses, which required large scalar, geometric, and aesthetic shifts. A contextually sensitive, yet forward looking design solution was achieve using pure geometry, clear forms and simple materials. Driving the design was a circular parti embracing a serene outdoor space with a high level of transparency and porosity that blurs the lines between interior and exterior environments.
To address the scalar dichotomy, the house was conceived as a 1½ story with outlying wings in the front and one side with a small second floor concealed within the vernacular roof form. The circular parti creates a grid focused on a singular node, creating a rational framework with a curved art gallery space acting as a central spine to connect and control all the public and private spaces.
The material palette used highly tactical materials consisting of stone, concrete, zinc, and Ipe lumber. Sustainable strategies include a high-efficiency building envelope, geothermal heating/cooling, key solar orientation, and lasting materials.
The public face of the house is stone with a contemporary yet vernacular fenestration language of punched openings, low roof-lines and sensitive landscaping to reduce building scale. A front garden funnels visitors through a building entry pavilion in a sequence that reveals the phenomenology of the house, providing a panoramic view to the rear gardens. As the house transitions from entry pavilion to supporting wings, the window openings become larger and the masonry material palette shifts to wood and zinc. The rear private face of the house focuses on transparency, maximizing daylight and views while creating a lantern in the evening as the light spills into the central outdoor space, creating theatre between exterior and interior.