Location: Larkspur, California, US
Area: 5,302 sq.ft. (+7,710 sq.ft. Decks & Terrace)
American Architecture Award for 2015
2015 AIA CC Honor Award
International Design Awards 2013 Honorable Mention
Architect: Jensen Architects
Project Team: Mark Jensen, Frank Merritt, Chris Kalos (project leads)
Ricardo Gonzalez, Robert Pei, Kyle Belcher, Chris Chalmers
Landscape Architect: Terra Ferma Landscapes
Interior Designer: Nicole Hollis Interior Design
Arboricultural Consultant: Urban Forestry Associates
Lighting Controls, A/V: North Shore Consulting
Acoustical: Charles M. Salter Associates
Model Shop: ZdP Models
Photography: © Mariko Reed
The Turners had cherished their previous home, an extraordinary Victorian, but when a rare ridge-top site came available, they began imagining a completely different way of living. They envisioned a house that is beautifully simple and connected to nature, a design that preserves the tree covered site and is mindful of their neighbors and community. Jensen responded with a house that vanishes into the landscape while creating a remarkable setting for family life nestled amongst the oaks.
The house is built carefully into the hill, rather than on top of the hill, to avoid diminishing the ridge or harming the site’s many heritage oaks. This strategy also organizes the program: Private spaces are protected within the half buried lower levels, while above, public areas are open to the landscape, a pavilion enclosed only with retractable sliding glass panels. The long, slender roof plane extends from the building’s core, appearing to float above the pavilion. Clad in mirrored panels the core vanishes in reflections of the surrounding trees.
When the glass walls are hidden away in the core, the living spaces flow out onto the adjacent terraces, landscapes, and panoramas. The living room sits high above the ground and surrounding oaks, opening to private yet expansive views of Mt. Tam and the green terrain. At the northeast side of the house, the dining room, kitchen, pool, and main terrace are effectively fashioned into a seamless indoor/outdoor living area.
All images courtesy of Jensen Architects