Residence for a Sculptor / Sander Architects

Architects: Sander Architects
Location: Santa Rosa, California,
CProject year: 2006

Residence for a Sculptor 3 presents itself frontally on a hillside site, and projects itself consciously as a series of polemics:


A smooth, taut facade is lifted above the hillside and reflects the linear displacement of spaces. Supporting this is a steel frame which is exposed on the rear, uphill side. The dialog here is between fineness and unrefined, between an outward effortless presentation and the physical efforts that are required to present this.


The first impression of the house emphasizes its horizontal arrangement and suggests a long view to the east. One enters from behind on the uphill side, away from the suggested view. If expectations promise a horizontal and outward experience, the first reality is an inward-focussed, strongly vertical entry space where the owner’s pottery is on display. This space has a 22′ curving, torqued steel wall on one side and a curved staircase and wall on the other. Only after venturing through this space, up the stairs and across a bridge does the long exterior view of the Valley of the Moon reveal itself.


The entry space, twisting and torqued, dark, vertical, inward, is based on qualities of the owner’s large clay pots, a few of which are visible at the base of the stairs. From the inception of the project, the strength of these sculptural clay forms was a deep influence on the making of spaces within the house.

Display / Advertising

The Entry Vessel and the upstairs Great Room are conceived as spaces to display the product of the sculptor’s labors. This sense of offering of the fabricated wares allows the house to take a certain pride in the fruits of labors there.

Cite: "Residence for a Sculptor / Sander Architects" 01 Apr 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • LV

    Thats about the only modern house in all of Santa Rosa that I have found on the web!

  • Jeison Gelaki

    I am not a fan of steel framed houses, but I certainly like this one. The interior is very nice too. Architects help me: are those columns between the kitchen space and the windows necessary?

  • David Basulto [tricky]

    We are going to interview mr Whitney Sander in a few moments..

    Jeison, i´ll ask him to answer your question here.

    Anyone has questions for him?

  • whitney sander


    The columns are the main support for the house and quite necessary. I actually wanted to make them separate from the exterior (window) walls to emphasize the fact that one element is holding up the building, and the other element is enclosing it: keeping the rain out and the heat in.


  • chakijs

    i remember Good Old days, when i used to drew perspective renderings on my Reiss Robotron :)

  • Jeison Gelaki

    Thank you, mr. Sander.

  • Greg

    I found Whiney Sanders response to the interior column question interesting. I’m wondering though if the future users of the building will have the same response. It’s one thing for the architect to promote their creative vision and yet quite another for the people who live in the structure to have to deal with it. That said, I think it is a beautiful home. I guess I too have to question the inclusion of the columns into the living space. I am just looking at some small photos though on screen. The actual reality of the space might change my viewpoint.

  • the big black & white zebra


    I like a lot about this project. The materials, the drawings, the location, the aesthetic, the details and even what Whitney Sanders says about the columns… because, that is where I have one reservation – there is an uncomfortable disconnect between the enclosing envelope & structure and the refined interior fixtures and surfaces. It would have been good if these too had that sculptural quality… the feeling of structural pragmatism, using basic materials…. but, of course the client lives here, so…

  • Churcher

    I think the ‘column’ is completely up to your personal prefrence, i mean the majority of the time good architecture is what looks ‘good’ to those involved/occupy/design.

    In this case, i love the contrast in the steel columns with the finishings and exterior rendering. However i would feel more convinced about seperation of structure to the envelope, if the envelope it self consisted of smaller proportions to that off the steel coloumns. Contious windows replacing the walls with smaller mullions. A really light frammed envelope with the heavy structure expressed inside.