Yorkville California - 2012
The entrance to this 2750 square foot house bridges a 70 foot reflecting pool. It is sited for views and solar orientation, employing both passive solar design and active solar panel technologies. Steel framing allows the roof a long clear span, floating on rammed earth and glass curtain walls.
In the entry sequence, the massive rammed earth entry walls part to reveal folded full height, high performance glazed walls enveloping central living, dining, and kitchen areas, with circulation following the layered earthen walls. The solid eight-foot-high 20 inch thick entry walls are capped with butt-glazed curtain wall along the entire 100-foot length of rammed earth, to give the roof plane an airy, floating character. The curtain walls are a unique custom-designed, site built, thermally broken glazing system. In the living and sleeping areas the curtain wall is integrated into a thin floor to roof vertical steel assembly to reduce mullion size and support the floating roof.
The structural system is designed to complement and strengthen the architectural emphasis of lightness and flight. By utilizing a steel frame and streamlining structural systems, the design minimizes material consumption and allows maximum performance. The curtain wall construction of the south and east walls utilize a custom vertical truss system with cast-steel web struts. The roof system, is framed with very light steel shapes held in plane by three-dimensional cable-stayed trusses and the custom cast-steel web struts, allowing the roof a long clear span, floating on the glass walls.
The designed thermal mass is regulated by optimal roof overhangs, and solar shelf, exploiting seasonal solar gain and shading. It utilizes active heating and cooling with a night-time, assisted air exchange system and radiant floor heating; eliminating the need for air conditioning. The system is regulated and monitored with a fully integrated home automation system for optimal energy utilization that includes LED lighting.
To further integrate the house to its site, the north wall of the house floats in a 70 foot reflecting pool that is the rain catchment reservoir for the house. The south terrace is stepped to eliminate railings. The landscape plan is irrigated entirely by site produced water. It emphasizes restoring indigenous, native plants and meadows, and an extensive kitchen garden.