Mork-Ulnes Architects used weathered steel, concrete, and glass to shape this asymmetrical apartment, thrust into a hillside overlooking a green, rolling valley in Sonoma County, Northern California. The studio was hired to create a home that would not only meet customer needs but would also respond to the threat of wildfire.
The team designed the two-story Triple Barn home to blend into the sloping terrain that offers expansive views of a rolling valley covered with trees and vineyards. The house is crowned with three pitched roofs that demarcate different zones within the apartment. Concrete was used for the lower part of the building, while the upper level was encased in weathering steel.
The initial challenge of the project, which really shaped the shape of the building, was to take advantage of the very steep slope and views of the terrain while also providing access for fire engines in this fire-affected area. As former residents of San Francisco and New York City, the couple wanted a full-time residence in the country that offered a calm atmosphere and a strong connection with nature. They also needed lots of space to hold cooking classes and entertain family and friends.
The upper level, on which the most important living functions are accommodated, has an approximately rectangular floor plan with a slight curve. It is on a smaller lower level that includes an office, storage room and laundry room, as well as a carport that occupies a sheltered void. Adjacent to the house is a wide driveway with space for fire engines.
The dark exterior of the house contrasts with the interior, which is kept light and airy. Douglas fir, natural stone and white walls are among the finishes. Vintage lights are mixed with modern décor in “sun-bleached” shades. The interior should have simple and light materials to give the house a casual atmosphere. All walls have been kept white to keep the room bright and to captivate large windows with their views.