A smooth, taut facade is lifted above the hillside and reflects the linear displacement of spaces. Supporting this is a steel frame which is exposed on the rear, uphill side. The dialog here is between fineness and unrefined, between an outward effortless presentation and the physical efforts that are required to present this.
The first impression of the house emphasizes its horizontal arrangement and suggests a long view to the east. One enters from behind on the uphill side, away from the suggested view. If expectations promise a horizontal and outward experience, the first reality is an inward-focussed, strongly vertical entry space where the owner’s pottery is on display. This space has a 22′ curving, torqued steel wall on one side and a curved staircase and wall on the other. Only after venturing through this space, up the stairs and across a bridge does the long exterior view of the Valley of the Moon reveal itself.
The entry space, twisting and torqued, dark, vertical, inward, is based on qualities of the owner’s large clay pots, a few of which are visible at the base of the stairs. From the inception of the project, the strength of these sculptural clay forms was a deep influence on the making of spaces within the house.
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The Entry Vessel and the upstairs Great Room are conceived as spaces to display the product of the sculptor’s labors. This sense of offering of the fabricated wares allows the house to take a certain pride in the fruits of labors there.
Architects: Sander Architects
Location: Santa Rosa, California, USAC
Project year: 2006
Photographs: Sander Architects