For me, living in the modern world parallels living in the ancient one that existed before the advent of cheap energy. We are once again appreciating and rediscovering what once seemed forgotten… the universe provides us with a bounty of resources: energy, water, ‘eco-services’, recreation.
This design utilizes the existing surroundings and conditions to provide a comfortable and beautiful environment for those who dwell there. Cast in place concrete walls and darkened floor slabs provide thermal mass, absorbing and radiating the sun’s energy as a passive source of solar heat. The stair shaft acts as a thermal chimney, drawing hot air up and out of the building during the warm seasons. Roof decks provide inexpensive outdoor living space which can also be adapted as a green roof to produce a garden for flowers, grasses, and food. Full height windows on the building’s north side offer spectacular views of the bay and bridge.
The penthouse provides an owner’s retreat with generous decks and a roof system that supports solar panels while also capturing rainwater for use in irrigation and domestic applications. At ground level, a sunken room with an operable wall facing the bride provides for a multitude of uses: study, guest quarters, lounge. This largely undeveloped ground floor also provides opportunity for inexpensive future expansion.