For Fall House, a modern design featuring a dramatic cantilever and commanding views on the south coast of Big Sur, Fougeron Architecture used “the forces of nature to inspire the forces of design,” drawing on a Wallace Stevens poem to shape the idea of structure and site.
“Placing form on wilderness is a radical act,” says Anne Fougeron. “It is not about creating harmony. Nature’s tensions are too dynamic to be balanced and too sprawling to be tamed by human artifact. Our design strategy embeds the building within the land, creating a structure inseparable from its context.”
Hence, this three-bedroom, 3,800-square-foot vacation home, which is moored to the landscape and surveys a 250-foot drop to the Pacific Ocean both along the bluff and the western exposure, yet demanded “a form more complex than a giant picture window,” says Fougeron. “The long, thin volume conforms and deforms to the natural contours of the land and the geometries of the bluff.
The house is cantilevered 12 feet back from the bluff, protecting the delicate ecosystem and ensuring the structure’s integrity and safety.” The interior, meanwhile, is all shelter and refuge, “in contrast with the roughness and immense scale of the ocean and cliff.”
Expressing a graceful geometry, manipulation of light and space, and interaction between outdoor and indoor environments, the house is the realization of the larger intention: to provoke a strong response through a building’s visual drama while communicating humanity and balance through its materials and transcendental aspects.
San Francisco, CA
PHOTOGRAPHS: Courtesy of Fougeron Architecture