Belmont House


From Hariri & Hariri Architecture

Unlike the Mega McMansions of recent years that are built all over the California and specifically the San Francisco/Bay area, this house is a very efficient, direct and simple home. It is 3000 SF and built into a hill in the city of Belmont near San Francisco.

The Owners are a young couple with a small child, working in the Silicon Valley and are part of the “Digital Culture” and new generation of the area.

Unlike the superficial historical reproductions, this project explores the fusion between two popular vernacular architecture of this region, the “Mobile-trailer home” and the “Mexican pueblo” architecture. This vertical hybrid of two different cultures has inspired this new house for the new generation living in the area.

A curved concrete retaining wall provides an edge for the driveway and directs the way uphill into the driveway. A series of concrete steps take one from the driveway to the mid-entry level. A long modern veranda with a blue stucco wall guide the visitors to an oversized rusted steel door. This dramatic entrance door pivots into the entrance hall where a staircase then takes one to the upper main floor.

Inspired by the Mexican pueblo architecture, the lower level of the house is composed of heavy walls with texture and color. This level includes the entrance/art gallery on the East Side and the children’s quarter on the West. A sculptural stair connects the entry to the upper main level where one finds the master suite on one end and an open loft living, that includes the dining, kitchen and library in the center and a home-office at the other end, all opening into a terrace and the hillside in the back.

Inspired by the industrial generation of Mobile homes the upper level is a rectangular volume wrapped in metal, floating over its solid base. It is light and hovers over the first floor as if ready to move on. This volume has large openings on both the hill and valley sides allowing for cross breeze through the house and a visual panorama of the hillside.

Finally, what is expressed here is this paradoxical human desire to be part of the new and the old, the heavy and the light, the earth and the sky the rooted and the mobile simultaneously.