Architects: Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects
Location: Orinda, California, USA
Project Team: Luke Ogrydziak, Zoë Prillinger, Diana Martinez
Structural Engineering: Julia Chen
General Contractor: Jon Gasparini
Project Area: 2,400 sq ft
Project Year: 2004-2009
Photographs: Courtesy of OPA
This 2,400 sq. ft. house is for a young family moving from the city to the country. In obvious contrast to their urban loft, the new site offers the opportunity to enjoy the bucolic landscape and gentle climate. The design strategy attempts to maximize the exposure of the interior of the house to the lightly forested surroundings. The lot is steeply sloping, and covered with mature oak trees, which provide an ample privacy screen for an essentially transparent house.
The first design decision was to elongate the primary program into a 16′-wide 100′-long bar, increasing the perimeter adjacent to the outside. The bar is embedded along the slope, its roof tilted to match the site gradient in an effort to merge the primary mass of the house into the landscape. The bar is mirrored on its long axis to create an outside room bounded by a high retaining wall. This strategy combined with the fully operable rear glass facade has the visual and experiential effect of doubling the width of the living space.
The bar undergoes a formal mutation at the division between public and private zones. While the public program is developed as an extremely open pavilion, in the private zone the basic modular geometry of the original bar shifts and sponsors extension in opposing perpendicular orientations. Various symmetries are at work mirroring the master suite area into a private spa terrace, and generating a modified butterfly roof.
The entry to the house also operates as a slice through the house, demarcating the public and private zones. Here, exterior space penetrates the interior, and the procession from outside-in-and-outside-again is monumentalized as a fully transparent slot, stitching the house into the landscape. The walls and roof are considered as a continuous skin that wraps the interior with varying degrees of porosity. Throughout the house, the floor, casework, and interior partitions are unified as a single system, a single material. Storage spaces and objects float in the center of the bar, emphasizing the perimeter’s ambiguous relationship with the outside.