Meandering rivers carved the coastal valleys surrounding this ridgeline home over millennium forming zig-zagging interlocking ‘spurs’, which draw our eye into the distance as they recede. This home’s staggered forms continue these rhythms; the roof of each inspired by one element of the natural landscape: reservoir, grassland, rock-outcropping.
This home takes inspiration from the landscape forms of the meandering river valleys of the Marin California coastal ranges. Even when sensitively working in pristine sites, the architectural objective is not so much to hide or mimic as to engage and enhance the natural qualities at hand. By adding scale, directing movement and framing views, the architectural strategy both references nature while remaining self-conscious of its own constructed nature.
The building’s forms draw inspiration from the valley below at three distinct scales. At the scale of the site, the home’s three staggered volumes extend the rhythm of the valley’s overlapping ‘spurs’, with the roof of each defined by a re-interpretation of one primary element of the natural landscape: reservoir, grassland, and rock-outcropping.
At the scale of the home, the lower garage and bedroom wings frame the entry, creating another ‘valley’ space as if carved itself by the forces of an unseen river. Although appearing as three separate structures in the landscape, a smooth wood-lined stairwell carves through the wings pinning them together physically, spatially and materially at the interior scale,
The project’s siting creates protected outdoor space and encourages meandering and exploratory movement over direct paths. The intent is to nestle the occupants within the building in ways that recall the forest and valley spaces of nature. The concrete and wood forms accept the natural weathering of this highly exposed site, blasted by sun and afternoon howling winds. The home is entirely self-sustaining and off the grid.