Project comments by Stuart Silk, Architect:
This house is entirely inspired by the surrounding rolling hills of this home’s rural setting in Santa Lucia Preserve which is located in California’s Central Coastal. This unique and moving landscape directly inspired the forms of the homes whose softly rolling roofs mimic the sinewy waves of the surrounding geography. The distinctive landscape is characterized by tall grasses and stands of Coast Live Oaks. Santa Lucia Preserve is 20,000 acres of largely undeveloped property in the hills of the Monterey peninsula near Carmel with one of the last remaining largely untouched environments in California.
The design of the home is conceived as a string of five pavilions each rotated on a different angle in response to the curving contours of the land. In this way the only steps needed were to access the library located in the most easterly pavilion. In rotating rooms in different orientations we were able to provide a variety of distinctly different outlooks as one moves from room to room. The living room is focused on Pinyon Peak an important geographical landmark while another captures an intimate foreground view. Each pavilion is connected by the gallery which runs in a crescent the length of the home.
By rotating the rooms parallel to the curving contours disturbance to the site was minimized which preserved the natural landscape. Also in deference to the land and to maintain a light touch each pavilion was limited in height. Within the height limit we established a hierarchy to allow the living and family rooms to be the tallest volumes at fourteen feet and other volumes to flow up and down in an undulating pattern mirroring the surrounding hills. The low sloping roofs and deep overhanging eaves have the effect of further merging the home with the site.
To insure timeless and durable architectural expression we selected stone cladding in combination with rusted steel panels. The windows are bronze clad mahogany and the roof is slate. The tones of the wheat colored limestone, burnt Siena colored steel panels, bronze windows, and earth-toned slate roof – all natural materials – merge together in a pallet that is decidedly sympathetic with the unique characteristics of this location.
If the work of any architect inspired us in the resolution of this design it is the work of Carlo Scarpa and in the care he took in his projects in Northern Italy to create families of unique details that supported the overall intent of each design. Eaves, trellises, panels, ceilings, beams and an unusual entrance to the home all provided opportunities to create details that supported the special vision of this finely crafted home. Two of the most unusual elements are the rusted metal eaves and the lozenge shape of the rusted metal clad entrance pavilion. The first is a unique detail and the other a unique space that marks the arrival point for the home.
Multiple ceiling heights and unique ceiling designs support the homes overall contemporary sensibility without leaving cold emotionless spaces. To avoid the coldness that we associate with modernism we deliberately supplement the architectural spaces with a layer of rich expressive detailing. The resulting spatial richness allows our clients to form strong bonds to their personal spaces. Sometimes the details are simply an expression of the home’s internal structural system while at other times, as in the case of this home, it is an expression that evolves independently from structural concerns to form its own unique logic in support of the home’s expression.
Floor to ceiling glazing and butt-glazed corner windows provide ample panoramic views of the distinctive and changeable landscape. Light is introduced from multiple directions to avoid dark areas in the home accept in the entry pavilion which was conceived without any natural light. It is entirely hermetic with no windows to the outdoors. Lined with rusted steel panels it is intended to provide a calming place for guests to meet undistracted by the beauty of the natural surroundings.
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Stuart Silk Architects
2400 N. 45th Street, Suite 200
Seattle, WA 98103
Carmel Builders & Company Inc.
P.O. Box 221999
Carmel, California 93922