When Lewis Mumford was the preeminent American critic of architecture, he coined a name for contemporary architecture in Northern California, the Bay Region Style: “the native and humane form of modernism,” he defined it, “a free and yet unobtrusive expression of the terrain, the climate, and the way of life on the Coast.
This is the approach we have chosen to follow in the house on De Silva Island, in Mill Valley, California. We have examined closely and integrated in our design the surrounding trees, topography of the terrain, location of the site, materials of the Bay Area, climate, and stunning views of San Francisco across the Bay. In doing so, the design seems to belong to the island, a natural offspring of the nature of the place, which has been there for generations. The design of the structure incorporates both energy- and water-efficient solutions such as energy-generating photovoltaic cells and insulating sod- roofs and water-use strategies that include site sediment control, storm water management and high-efficiency grey-water irrigation systems.