Fall House

Big Sur
Fougeron Architecture
Big Sur

This three-bedroom house is a vacation home for a family and their children. Located on a spectacular site in the south Coast of Big Sur, this house pays homage to the natural beauty and power of this California landscape. The overall design strategy is one of imbedding the building in the land, creating a structure that is inseparable from its context. The design reinterprets the organic architectural vocabulary of Big Sur houses built in the 50's and 60's.

The site offers plunging views a 250' foot drop to the Pacific Ocean both along the bluff and the western exposure. The house--a long thin volume -- conforms and deforms to the natural contours of the land and the geometries of the bluff. The main body of the house is composed of two rectangular boxes connected by an all glass room; a one-story concrete wing placed perpendicular to the house includes bedrooms on the ground floor and a green roof. The house is cantilevered over the land 12' feet back from the bluff's edge, both to protect the delicate eco system of the cliff and to ensure the integrity and safety of the structure.

The lower volume is the master bedroom suite with a double cantilever over the bluff and the ground; it is a promontory above the ocean that captures the spectacular views with its floor to ceiling windows

The link between these two volumes is the glass library/den; it is the hearth of the house, a room that unites the house inside and out both with its geometry and its transparency.

The main is at the top of the site, with the living spaces unfolding from the most public to the most private. The living room kitchen and dining room are an open plan with subtle changes in levels and roof planes to differentiate the various functions.

The house has two main facades, the south one is clad in copper which wraps up the wall and over on the roof. Copper clad roof overhangs protect windows and the front door from the sun and the wind of the ocean. The façade to the north is made with different types of glass; clear expanses of glass open the house to the view while long strips of translucent channel glass dapple the light, playing of the shimmering surface of the ocean below and creating an ever-changing interior with a warm play of light and shadow throughout the day.

The design celebrates the views without making the house one big picture window. The interior is a shelter, a quiet contemplative space where one can escape the roughness and immense scale of the ocean and cliff.

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