Crook | Cup | Bow | Twist (categories of lumber deformation) refers to the latent potential energy of all natural systems towards movement.
SaA’s design response first analyzes the site as a series of existing flows or “routes” across the landscape, catalogued into three types: Topographic Routes of terrain, water, and vegetation; Constructed Routes of trails, bridges, and boardwalks; and Diurnal Routes of sun path, thermal exchange, and human occupation.
Conceptually, the new buildings become the knot at the center of these routes, drawing strands of movement in, engaging them with others, and releasing them back out again. On the most basic level, the architectural aim is to propel the occupants out of the confines of the home and back out into the “un-tamed” landscape beyond. The home becomes a base camp for exploration, continuously provoking a relationship to the great outdoors and inspiring wanderlust.
Analysis and negotiation of the site’s systems of movement establishes the logic and orientation of the siting strategy, and further, allows for a construction approach that fluidly integrates new built systems with the governing natural ones. For example, analysis of ephemeral daily movements across the site, in particular solar paths in relationship to thermal regulation and human occupation, determines the building’s primary orientation.
A detached secondary skin (perforated metal roof and wood solar screen) drapes the entire structure, allowing continuous airflow between enclosure and skin, and regulating the daily and seasonal cycles of the sun. Passive solar design, alternative and efficient energy systems, use of repurposed on-site building materials and comprehensive thermal regulation of the building envelope make this project notably green. Beyond these important measures of sustainability however, the project further aims to make palpable for the occupants the complex relationships between architecture and its surrounding ecosystems.
Drawn to the natural beauty of this 42-acre Marin ranchland site, the new owners saw the rugged landscape as “antidote” to their city life and as base camp for exploration, particularly for their two young children.
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