The constricted footprint of the affectionately-named “Box on the Rock” is a response to a limited budget and a difficult site; shallow underground waterways run across the hillside, daylighting in unexpected and unwanted locations. This unreliable terrain necessitated relatively expensive pier footings, thus motivating an extremely compact and efficient 2,000 sq ft footprint. Given no initial resources to develop the wild scrub and rock landscape of the 3-acre property, the home becomes a lone outpost settling the higher ground of the larger natural site – a box on the rock.

Subjected to the extremes of the wine country microclimate on the exposed site, the central courtyard and the cantilevered deck are strategically carved out of the diagrammatic box to ensure that over the course of the day, temperate options for both sun and shade are always available. In particular, the geometry of the overhang at the front cantilevered deck and the inward angle of its exterior glass walls are carefully calibrated to capture morning sun and winter warming while shielding the internal space from the harshest summer glare. Later in the day, the central courtyard comes alive as the sunniest developed outdoor space, yet one that is naturally cooled by capturing the valley cross breezes.

With an economy of means, a simple box morphs to amplify the experience of this new home’s dramatic site. Each adjustment to the diagrammatic box negotiates functional and environmental demands to create a self-contained and site-specific home with a minimal environmental impact.

Schwartz and Architecture uploaded Box on the Rock through Add A Home.
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Modern home with Exterior, Wood Siding Material, House Building Type, and Flat RoofLine. Entry drive looking through courtyard to views beyond. Photo  of Box on the RockView Photos

Entry drive looking through courtyard to views beyond.

Modern home with Exterior, Flat RoofLine, House Building Type, and Wood Siding Material. Front deck Photo 5 of Box on the RockView Photos

Front deck

Modern home with Exterior, Wood Siding Material, Flat RoofLine, and House Building Type. Front deck Photo 6 of Box on the RockView Photos

Front deck

Modern home with Exterior, Wood Siding Material, and House Building Type. Side Elevation Photo 7 of Box on the RockView Photos

Side Elevation

Modern home with Exterior, Flat RoofLine, House Building Type, and Wood Siding Material. Entry Court Photo 8 of Box on the RockView Photos

Entry Court

Modern home with Living Room. Living Room Photo 9 of Box on the RockView Photos

Living Room

Looking back towards entry through courtyard. Photo 11 of Box on the Rock modern homeView Photos

Looking back towards entry through courtyard.

Landscape Design
  • NA
Builder
  • Eames Construction
Photographer
  • Bruce Damonte

Overview

Bedrooms
  • 3
  • Full Baths
  • 3
  • Partial Baths
  • 0
  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Style
  • Modern
  • Year
  • 2015
  • Square Feet
  • 2000
  • Lot Size
  • 4.8 acres