Photo © Matthew Millman
Photo © Matthew Millman
Photo © Matthew Millman
Photo © Matthew Millman
Photo © Matthew Millman
Photo © Matthew Millman
Photo © Matthew Millman
Photo © Matthew Millman
Photo © Matthew Millman
Photo © Matthew Millman
Photo © Matthew Millman
Photo © Matthew Millman
Photo © Matthew Millman

Glen Ellen Aerie

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Year
2015
Cost
Undisclosed
Stories
1-5 Stories
Team
General Contractor: McIntosh Builders Inc, Surveyor & Civil Engineer: Lescure Engineers Inc., Geotechnical Engineer: RGH Consultants, Structural Engineer: Berkeley Structural Design, Landscape Design-builder: Dexter Estate Landscapes

Sited in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains in Sonoma California, this single family residence floats over the hillside with commanding views of Sonoma Valley.

The intent was to design an extremely restrained home both in scale and cost, that intimately embraces the terrain both near and far. The homeowners requested a home that effortlessly links the indoor experience to the surrounding landscape. The tripartite diagram is quite simple: two masses, clad in standing seam black zinc, rise up out of the earth and support a third floating glass pavilion that performs as a bridge connecting the two solid volumes. The first two masses, housing the guest bedrooms, a kitchen, and the entry are positioned on the crest of the hillside, while the master-suite, library, living room, and dining rooms embrace the panoramic valley views to the West. A circulation spine running through the center of the home connects all three wings creating a highly efficient plan.

Both of the North and the South ends of the glass pavilion open up to the exterior with walls that retract and floors and roofs that hover over the descending terrain. These decks provide welcome exterior space that is shaded from the searing summer sun for both public and private spaces. Stretching naturally South along the length of the adjoining contours is a pool and exterior cooking area. With the walls retracted, the home takes on the character of an open pavilion, providing ample space both inside and out for cooking, dining, and swimming.

The materiality of the floors and ceilings are also clearly divided with the glass pavilion
articulated by lighter wood cladding. The warmth and texture of rough-sawn oak ceilings and distressed oak floors complement the diaphanous spaces they embrace. The earthbound masses reinforce their connection to terra firma with solid concrete floors and neutral white ceilings.

The resulting home is intended to be a quiet armature that dramatically frames a stunning natural context while providing the homeowners an environment that fully blurs the line between interior and exterior. It is a structure that fully embraces the power of biophilic design at a low cost.

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