Splendid Light

04 / 07 / 2018
A project by Feldman Architecture.
Photography: Joe Fletcher
This article is only available in English. 
The perfect symbiosis between nature and architecture, privacy and openness and the sublime natural light, all this converge to the feeling that we are in front of a beautiful American refuge. Conceived for a retired couple and their family, the objective was “to create a family retreat on a large ranch which they could turn into a working farm”, explained Jonathan Feldman, responsible for the practice behind the project, Feldman Architecture.

Located on a walnut farm in Central Valley, in California, the house is sited at the foot of a hillside overlooking much of the 500-acre property and distant views of rolling hills along the San Andreas Fault. A palette of wood, glass, steel and stone contrasts with the bold and beautiful texture of the rammed earth walls, mostly made of soil from a quarry next door. “I like how the rammed earth walls are sustainable, functional and beautiful, and how much texture and warmth there is in such a modern home”, added Jonathan.
 
The heat was one of the biggest challenges during the process, due to the hot summer climate, but “these issues were addressed with roof overhangs, locating the home near some mature trees, exterior wood shades and lots of thermal mass”. Through passive heating and cooling, alternative energy and drought-tolerant landscape design, the residence achieved Leed Gold performance, all electric and net-zero energy.

The house is composed by a bunk room and two private guest suites connected by a catwalk with expansive communal living and cooking areas. With a series of courtyards, that create private outdoors rooms which are sheltered but have framed views, there’s something relaxing, absolutely peaceful, in the residence.