It took over a year to complete this 1,900-square-foot house, built on a 40-acre site in Big Sur and surrounded by nature. But due to local land use restrictions, architect Mary Ann Gabriele Schicketanz faced the challenge of finding a site with enough room to fit a home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living area and an open kitchen in a reduced sloping plot next to an existing access road.
The project was designed “to interlock the structure with the land as much as possible,” says Schicketanz, founder and principal architect at Studio Schicketanz. To achieve this, the team “cut a wedge into the gentle hillside, tied the house to the hill and accommodated many functions—garage, laundry, powder room, pantry, mechanical room—underground.”
Complementing the exterior cedar siding and expansive glass, the green roof, made by expert Fred Ballerini, helps to both blend the house with its context and protect it from noise and extreme temperatures. Inside, the undulating ceiling, which ranges from 8 to 10 feet in height, creates movement.
“The use of natural and locally found materials, and dramatic views of the Pacific were central to the design,” adds Schicketanz, who remained focused on the main objective of minimizing the house’s impacts and maximizing the dramatic views throughout the project’s progress, in an attempt to give the feeling of shelter while celebrating the breathtaking panorama.
PHOTOGRAPH: COURTESY OF ROBERT CANFIELD