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For centuries, the enclosed courtyard has been overlaid on various geographic settings—each time transformed according to the climate, rituals, and construction practices of the place. A vehicle to capture the outdoors within the building, the courtyard is defined by its interiority. The slipped court of this project provides simultaneous interiority and exteriority—protected and private as well as extroverted and engaged.
The house respects strict zoning guidelines, while merging with the landscape, extending natural flora over the roof. Sited within an olive tree grove, pinus pinea, and a vineyard, it seeks to leverage the sloping terrain, producing sustainable systems for amplification and cultivation.
The most significant result of this integration of landscape and house is the production of a monumental vaulted threshold to a central courtyard. The vault is a ruled surface that mediates between the geometry of the supporting stair at the northeast corner, the pool, and living areas above. The main armature of the house appears as a single concrete monolith around two perpendicular beams; the first, the wall between the pool and the lower east wing, and the second, the cantilevered wall on the north edge of the house. Embedded within the spatial organizational logic of the house, these beams are encrypted within the “experience” of the house: windows into the pool, doorways from living areas to bedrooms, and views to the exterior, using the economies of opening to assure structural continuity.
Structurally, the roof is a series of surface-active vaults that produce strong lateral stability. The slope of the vault maximizes the zoning envelope in order to bring in southern light, and it is the vault that forms the foundation of a green roof. Beneath the roof are the primary living, eating, and sleeping spaces. The lower wing is conceived as a street-corridor, activated by a reading room and bunk rooms that open directly onto the landscape. Many of the living spaces of this house are outdoors, taking advantage of varying views, times of the day and public vs. private moments. For this reason the architecture of the house extends into the landscape, retains it, and frames spaces in between.
The site offers the possibility of leveraging the terrain to produce sustainable systems for amplification and cultivation. Roof drainage and site hydrology are tied together to provide a water and irrigation system for the landscape. A photovoltaic field is located to the north providing clean energy to the entire site, and solar water panel is installed in the extended lawn on at the southeast corner to provide heated water for the rooms on the lower level.
Principal-in-charge: Nader Tehrani
Project Manager: Harry Lowd & Lisa Lostritto
Project Team: Dan Gallagher, Katie Faulkner, Craig Chapple, John Houser, Ellee Lee, Kevin Lee, Tim Wong, Parke Macdowell, Ryan Murphy, Jonathan Palazzolo, Caitlin Scott, Joana Rafael, Rawan Alsane
Associate Architects: Bidard & Raissi (Paris, France), Agence Francois Vieillecroze (St. Tropez, France)
Structural Engineer: Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger