Conceived as a “California chalet for the 21st Century,” the SkyValley House in the town of Lake Arrowhead references the historic legacy of local mountain dwellings while maintaining a contemporary architectural expression. The design emerged by clarifying and balancing three primary forces acting on the project: the horizontal distribution of program, the diagonal slope of the terrain, and the vertical embrace of the sky. The project culminates in a rooftop viewing perch at the valley between the main roof volumes, a feature the client requested for late-night stargazing.
The house is sited in an existing mountain neighborhood, on a previously undeveloped “remainder” lot with challenging topography, difficult building setbacks, and dense vegetation. Local regulations mandated a nostalgic Alpine architecture with steeply pitched roofs, “earth tones”, and decorative detailing. Our design creatively meets those requirements in a modern way through coherent forms, an absence of excess, and rigorous material unity. The bar-shaped plan strategically nestles into the terrain between numerous mature cedar trees, and consists of a main open living space bookended by private bedrooms. A variety of pitched roof forms—hip, shed, and gable—are synthesized to shape interior space, provide a unique profile to the house, and gesture toward the skyward view from the roof perch. Large operable expanses of glass at the main living space and master bedroom capture distant views, while scooping in sunlight and allowing nature to flow into the house. Interior finishes are minimal, consisting of white plaster and oiled white oak. The exterior is entirely clad in a jacket of black corrugated metal to unify walls and roof, allowing the building to visually recede into the shadows of the forest.
Through simplicity and a minimum of means, the SkyValley House satisfies our client’s needs for a small house of quiet intensity, one offering an atmosphere of warmth, clarity, and a deep connection to nature.
- Edward Ogosta Architecture - Architect - Ed Ogosta