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High-Performance Courtyard House


On a north-sloping site in Palo Alto, CA, the High-Performance Courtyard House is carefully sited and detailed to maximize the experience of its semi-rural site, while remaining comfortable year-round.

A playroom and family room opens out to the courtyard, and ties to the bedroom hall through a "stage" for the kids.
Balancing high and low technologies, the high performance envelope of exterior insulation, air-sealing, rain-screen...
Gabions mediate the grade changes of the sloping site, providing habitat and filtered drainage while minimizing...
The outdoor room of the courtyard opens to the north, stepping up to a terrace and pool surrounded by meadow.
Two shed-roofed volumes, oriented and shaped for a passive and active solar, are linked to create a private courtyard.
Solar hot water panels provide domestic hot water for the house, and the pool.
Cuerda Seca tiles from the owner's hometown in Spain compliment the clean and simple finishes of the Great Room.
Live-edge oak harvested on site was used as both structure and guardrail at the central stair to the bedroom wing.
Designed to receive afternoon shade from a stand of mature oaks, the courtyard house opens to a hillside meadow and...