Geothermal House

Occupying the space between the ground and the tree canopy, the residence provides an unfolding spatial experience, which repeatedly attempts to relate the interior spaces to the adjacent landscape.

The house is conceived as a series of horizontal planes that terrace along the edge of a south-facing hill above a pond. The arrangement of the guest wing, main living spaces and bedroom wing, which wrap along the hills crest, are a response to the topography, solar orientations and views beyond. From the entry courtyard, the low profile of the house and selective openings through the façade allow for a playful hide and reveal of the landscape beyond without dominating the site.

This project is rooted in the desire to create ambiguity between interior space and exterior space. In the primary living spaces, the horizontal planes of the floor and roof surfaces extend beyond large openings of glass. The interior is characterized by multiple planes of light entering into the house at a variety of levels. While the roof and floor planes hold the primary datum, the subtle articulations in the walls and windows provide intimate relations to the landscape and the path of the sun. Manipulation of partitions, openings, and spaces provides a rich tapestry of changing perspectives as one passes through the house.

The house is organized on the site to take advantage of the daily path of the sun. The kitchen faces east while the living room and its terrace face west to take advantage of the setting sun. All rooms receive light on two sides. The combined living room, dining room, kitchen area receives light on four sides through the use of a clearstory, enabling the sun to always be an ever-changing presence in the main body of the house.

The house is designed to tread lightly on the environment. The north façade is more insular while the south façade opens the house to the site and the sun. Attention has been paid to creating cross-ventilation through all the rooms. Large overhanging trellises modulate and dapple the intense summer western and southern sun at the living room and master bedrooms, while allowing in the winter sun. Both the heating and cooling systems are geothermal.