Toro Canyon House / Bestor Architecture

© Laure Joliet

Architects: Bestor Architecture
Location: , CA, USA
Partner In Charge: Barbara Bestor
Project Manager / Architect: Selena Linkous
Project Team: Daniel Rabin
Area: 4700.0 ft2
Year: 2012
Photographs: Laure Joliet

Interior Designer: The Archers
Landscape Architect: Isabelle Greene & Associates
Lighting Designer: Dan Weinreber, Kaplan, Gehring, McCarroll Architectural Lighting
Mechanical Engineering, Plumbing: Mel Bilow & Associates
Civil Engineer: Penfield & Smith
Contractor: Below Magid Construction

© Laure Joliet

From the architect. The owners wanted to build a getaway house outside of Los Angeles where they could entertain and find a balance between the modern design they desired and a more direct relationship to nature. After a two year search in the Southern California region they discovered pristine acreage near Montecito at the top of a mountain and adjacent to national park land.

site Plan

The site strategy is one of slow revelation and discovery of the house and- ultimately- the view. The road, which had to be built for access, brings the visitor to a point below the house- where a formal stair leads up to the entry sequence. The front door frames and reveals views of the Santa Barbara coastline through the courtyard.

© Laure Joliet

A 40’ wide horizontal ‘panavison’-esque opening gives the house a pavilion-like atmosphere. The dwelling is organized around three courtyards; the primary one at the heart of the house also serves as the front entrance and outdoor living room. The courtyards have a dual purpose: they bring in ample natural light and ventilation but also provide protection from the strong winds that can race across the mountain.

© Laure Joliet

The rough and very thick boardform concrete walls, custom color-mixed to match the dark red and brown tones of the earth at the site, form a rugged shell that is punctuated by large openings and reveals of the Alaskan cedar wood siding. The inner shell’s warm wood and windows into the protected courtyards create a warm and tactile interior respite from the hardy environment.

Cite: "Toro Canyon House / Bestor Architecture" 11 May 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <>

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