Atherton California, just down El Camino Real from Stanford University, is in the heart of Silicon Valley. It is a suburban city characterized by mature trees and homes on large plots hidden behind fences. The climate is temperate, almost Mediterranean and the owner of this house wanted a home where she could live outdoors as much as possible. Complicating this desire was that the lot is long and narrow and her view on all sides was of the backs of the neighboring houses which (like most typical suburban houses) are huge and blank. But above these neighboring houses, the mature tree canopy and sky were alive, constantly changing and breathtaking. Focusing on this view “up” rather than horizontally “out” we created a seemingly roofless house that surrounds the living spaces by huge outdoor courtyards that direct the view up.
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