This project is conceived as a series of concrete retaining walls and escarpments that traverse and cascade down a steeply sloped site approximately 700 feet deep and 300 feet wide. In response to the steep + diagonal slope of the existing topography, the site / building strategy is to deploy a series of straight walls that act as “jetties” into the landscape and respond as a counter-force. As these walls begin to interact with the landscape they modulate and redistribute the sloping terrain into a series of terraces and gardens that spill and slide past one another. Hovering above and anchored to these concrete site walls is the “House” proper. A simple, geometric house “primitive” that is conceived and constructed as a series of smooth extruded volumes or trapezoidal “boxes” of differing lengths. Symbolically and strategically, the first of these “boxes” presents a gable-front facade to the street and helps conceal the scale of the overall house beyond. Formally, it operates against the grain of the site and site walls. Its perceptual effect on the streetscape is strongly iconic, if not nostalgic (but hopefully not sentimental). The second container-box rotates 90 degrees and runs parallel to the street and site walls. It functions with the grain of the site walls as a kind of backdrop or screen to both the front and back yard activities and views of the property. It has little symbolic connotations; instead it operates as an abstraction, as a backdrop. The perpendicular orientation between the two “boxes” produces a powerful contrast and juxtaposition between representation and abstraction within the project.
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