A photographer’s search for the site of his future home sought a majestic environment with vast natural vistas, found only in the American West. He happened upon a structure that embodied his vision for a house and approached the architect, after which ten years passed before he found the perfect site. The requested program consisted of live and work spaces connected by a display gallery. Additionally, the house was to consist of simple shapes and construction, and with little long term maintenance requirements. The site is located on the Eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada range, its preeminent allure being the magnificent panoramas from a high desert terrain of rugged topography, and the striking rock outcrops among sage brush.
The live part will house the photographer, his family and house guests. The work part is a photography studio with exhibit gallery for his work and art collection. The program functions are physically delineated into serial modules with interposing trellised courtyards and linked by “bridges.” The resulting long and narrow structure optimizes the dramatic views ranging from the mountain backdrop above the site to Reno city lights below. From the studio to the gallery to the living spaces, each room “connects” to the environment on two or more sides with light, ventilation and views through windows and glass doors. The relationship to the outdoors is especially strong in living / dining / kitchen module which is wrapped on three sides by a south facing terrace with a lap pool accessed through a series of wide sliding glass doors. Sustainability is integral to every aspect of the building’s design, from siting based on solar orientation with integrated landscaping to naturally weathering materials to active energy generation in the forms of photo-voltaic panels and geothermal wells.