D a n i e l   R u a r k ,   A r c h i t e c t

Custom Residential Architecture

Private Residence

The Santa Lucia Preserve

Carmel, California

This residence is located within the 20,000 acre Santa Lucia Preserve, a private planned community set within a pristine and virtually unspoiled nature conservancy. The specific site itself is uniformly down sloping at a moderate rate, facing generally north.  It has a very private quality—a large open grassy meadow at its center and ringed on all sides by majestic oaks and madrones.  The client desired to site the residence at the upper, higher end of the site and centered on the meadow in order to take advantage of distant views from this aspect.  

On the lower end of the site, the owner planned to develop a guest cottage, cabana, and outdoor recreation area with a small swimming pool.  

The long meadow between these two areas of development was to be left natural with minimal landscape enhancement.

The residence is single story with 3,450 square feet of living area.  It wraps around and follows the contours in order to carefully relate to the site and minimize any impact upon the land.  The house is essentially divided into three modules, all linked by a continuous folded plane, or “butterfly” roof.  The main social component of the residence, containing Living, Dining, and Kitchen, are oriented towards distant north views and look down the length of the meadow to thick woodlands below.  These spaces are extended to broad outdoor terraces via expanses of glazing, portions of which could completely moved aside via a folding panel door system.

A master bedroom wing is placed on the west in the most private location relative to house living spaces, entry and guest spaces.  It enjoys views to the north and east, but also into the oaks and madrones on the west where the site spills down to a creek below.

The guest wing component is located on the east side, closest to the site entry.  Since the site falls away more steeply on the northeast, a two-car garage has been placed underneath a portion of this guest wing and, as a result, is out of one’s view when arriving upon the residence.

Due primarily to the house’s northeastern orientation, the upturned butterfly roof form allows generous diffused natural daylighting to fill the spaces.  South facing pop-up clerestory openings allow natural daylighting to spill into the center of larger spaces, balancing that from the northeast.  At the Living Room, the clerestory becomes a significant feature as it rises up to engage the broad masonry mass of a focal point wood-burning fireplace.  Solar photovoltaic collection panels were planned for the south-facing planes of the roof.  The house would be heated by a hydronic radiant system embedded in the integrally colored concrete floor throughout the house.

In keeping with the more modern/contemporary architectural character of the residence, integrally colored masonry units were being contemplated and researched as the primary wall material and structural component.  These would be of natural warm earthtones, of two alternating subtle shades, and burnished or lightly sandblasted to expose the color aggregate composition.

The project was proceeding through the Design Review approval process then due to the economic downturn, the client decided to shelve the project.