Taking the less conventional approach to design is a sure way to give a house a strong identity and sense of place. Invariably, form is dictated by function, and building materials take on a whole new significance.
For this project, architect Scott West created a bold, multi-layered facade where walls slice through windows and cutouts provide changing perspectives that blur the line between inside and out. The sculptural, geometric form of the architecture extends to the landscaping, where the entry path turns at right angles and is flanked by terraced gardens.
"The house is on an exposed corner site," says West. "Consequently, the owner wanted the suggestion of a barrier between the street and the house without the unfriendly look of a fence. We turned the front door sideways so it is not an open invitation for just anyone to wander up the path."
Strong, bold materials and an absence of large windows on the corner elevation also create a visual defense. West teamed natural slate, ipeª hardwood and stucco with a new proprietary bamboo tongue-and-groove siding. Each material defines a separate piece of the 3-D composition.
"Rather than presenting rooms as a collection of little boxes, I designed the house as a sculptural assembly of spaces," says West. "The gaps in between the solid planes create a negative detailing, which is where the windows are positioned."