The three-fingered plan of this rural Californian retreat by Mork-Ulnes Architects is oriented to frame views of a mountain ridge, vineyards and a local landmark named Eagle Rock (+ slideshow).
Mork-Ulnes Architects, which has offices in California and Oslo, designed the Moose Road house as a simple getaway for two young couples, using low-cost engineered materials such as plywood and oriented strand board.
The house's sprawling volume stretches out across its site like a splayed glove, setting up apertures towards the various landmarks whilst avoiding the roots of several nearby oak trees.
"The main challenge was to frame these three separate views while at the same time, preserving each existing oak tree on site," explained architect and studio founder Casper Mork-Ulnes.
A solution the architect and team members Greg Ladigin and Andreas Tingulstad came up with was to raise the building off the ground on steel stilts. This also helped to frame the best views through the three floor-to-ceiling windows.
The outer skin of the house comprises a layer of steel siding. Interior walls are lined with birch plywood, while floors display the chipboard aesthetic of oriented strand board, which has been cleaned with a lye soap solution.
"To cut cost as well as meet sustainability goals of the clients, the building was designed using standard-sized, off-the-shelf sheet goods to minimise waste," said Mork-Ulnes.
Entrance to the house is via a small porch that steps down to meet the ground. This leads through to an open-plan living room and kitchen that offers the view towards Eagle Rock - a rocky outcrop named after its resemblance to an eagle's head.
Bedrooms are located within the two smaller wings and are screened behind self-contained toilet and closet units that are glazed at the top to allow light to filter through each space.
Furniture was added sparsely to prevent the interior feeling cramped, but includes a selection of burnt wood pieces by San Francisco artist Yvonne Mouser.
Photography is by Bruce Damonte.
Here's a project description from Mork-Ulnes Architects:
Three locally known land formations can be seen from the site of this project: "Eagle Rock", a mountain ridge, and the valley of vineyards below. The main challenge was to frame these three separate views while at the same time, preserving each existing oak tree on site.
The three fingers extend precisely in between the existing trees, each oriented toward a land formation. The house was constructed on steel stilts to avoid severing tree roots. To cut cost as well as meet sustainability goals of the clients, the building was designed using standard sized, off-the-shelf sheet goods (unfinished plywood and OSB) to minimise waste. The building was accomplished with a tiny budget (by California standards) at under $190 per square foot.
Architecture firm - Mork-Ulnes Architects
Project Design Team - Greg Ladigin, Casper Mork-Ulnes, Andreas Tingulstad
Contractor - Crossgrain Co. Inc.
Structural Engineer - Double-D Engineering
Site size: 16 acres
Building size: 1,140 square feet
Construction cost per square foot: $190