Sebastian Mariscal's Wood Architecture

We interviewed architect Sebastian Mariscal on his thoughtful, textured approach to designing with wood, for our 2014 Materials special issue.
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Architect Sebastian Mariscal  believes that when it comes to wood, everyone's a fan. Mariscal's sensitive, atmospheric homes broadcast a deep understanding of the organic material. Each of the four Mariscal-designed residences Dwell has featured in its pages express a mastery of timber, from the warm, ipe-clad interior of 2inns (2006) to the charred-wood exterior of the Wabi House (2008). He manages to make the most of everyday materials, both distinct and clever, and we wanted to find out how.

Architectural designer Sebastian Mariscal and project manager Jeff Svitak created a house in Venice, California, for Michael and Tamami Sylvester. The knotty cedar cladding from Crenshaw Lumber was pretreated with an ebony stain from Timber Pro UV—twice on both sides—prior to being brought to the site, where it was left for eight weeks so that it could adjust to the moist seaside air before installation. Photo by Coral von Zumwalt.

Click here to peep a 360-degree panoramic view of Dwell Home Venice.

Check out the issue, hitting newsstands on March 25, 2014, for more on how Mariscal works with wood, and click through our slideshow for a selection of his projects that have been featured in Dwell. 

A guest bedroom, with furniture from Room & Board, overlooks the bridge above the dining courtyard. The home’s landscape architecture is by Ventura, California–based Jack Kiesel, and Mariscal was fully onboard with a program that respected the site's natural vegetation. "Sebastian had an immediate reaction to the trees on the site," says the homeowner. "There were several mature trees: a 40-foot-high pine tree, a California live oak, and a magnolia. So Sebastian immediately said—actually announced—that he was going to keep all the trees on the site." Photo by Coral von Zumwalt.

A gently winding set of exposed aggregate concrete pads leads to the Wabi House’s front door. Architectural designer Sebastian Mariscal sought to "hide the house behind a dense forest front yard." As the crape myrtles grow in, they will further filter the home’s charred cedar facade. Photo by Daniel Hennessy.

Watch a behind-the-scenes video tour at the Wabi House.

While most of the ground level is given over to the large open living and dining area, it also includes a small pantry, office, and Japanese bathroom. An integrated Sub-Zero refrigerator is almost unnoticeable behind its charred cedar cladding. Photo by Daniel Hennessy.

For his own residence in downtown San Diego, Sebastian Mariscal and his wife Maricarmen fit two clever structures on a small lot, in a city rarely associated with innovative urban structures. Redwood siding reflects the historic neighboring houses and provides some context for the new house. Photo by Randi Berez.

Though he was born in Mexico City, San Diego–based designer and developer Sebastian Mariscal has readily absorbed this Californian obsession with deck life. A veteran of the local architecture scene, the 38-year-old Mariscal has designed a pair of identical houses called 2inns (pronounced "twins") on a La Jolla hillside overlooking the Pacific. Sebastian and Maricarmen take in the scenery from the comfort of their exposed living room, which employs all manner of hardwoods, local and exotic alike. Photo by Bryce Duffy.

The Mariscals' own La Jolla bedroom opens out onto a small triangular patio. The exterior's ipe cladding also makes up the walls and floor of the master bedroom, further inviting the outside in. Photo by Bryce Duffy.


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