Located on a very busy local thoroughfare next to “One for the Road”, this building is designed for 50-something soon-to-be empty-nesters originally from the Netherlands. The husband is a physical therapist, and the wife is a fine-art painter.
The very narrow site slopes up and away from the busy road while the property lines converge toward the back of the site. Noise from the street and poor solar orientation further complicates optimum design conditions. The design responds to these daunting site conditions in such a way they actually become attributes to the function and comfort provided by the structure.
Using the semi-detached office/apartment as a buffer, a private side-entry courtyard is created for this accessory part of the structure. This courtyard is covered above and open on the front and back allowing the master suite of the main house to project into it to take advantage of the fresh air while preserving privacy from the road and its noise. The living and sleeping spaces of the office/apartment building also benefit from their access to this private, semi-enclosed outdoor space. Placing this structure on the street-side of the house allows for future occupation as an office, with a very public façade and semi-private entry separated from the private dwelling. A “hole” in the courtyard roof is created to allow water to pass through to tall stalks of bamboo below, strategically placed to help mask the road noise with their rustling as the wind passes between the two structures.
The main entrance to the dwelling up one half-flight of stairs opens into a lofty, light-filled space used as a great-room with expansive walls for hanging large works of art. Careful placement of windows and shading devices eliminate excessive solar gains while optimizing natural daylighting. The main living areas of the house are oriented toward the rear, uphill side of the site, away from the noise of the road. The entire house is no more than “one-room-wide” at any point, a strategy employed to easily facilitate cross-ventilation in an area where sea-breezes from the southwest are reliable in saddle seasons.
Bold colors and subtle changes in material texture and reflectance articulate the different forms and functions of the building using a rationale inherent to the figurative paintings created by the artist/occupant. Simple geometric forms, folded planes, ribbon windows, and scale-lessness are employed to create a structure that appears much larger and more sculptural than an ordinary house.