The Madrone Ridge, a tributary of the Russian River, dominates and becomes a vital life force for all the plants and wildlife in the corner of California’s Sonoma Valley. It was in this rich environment that Jess Field of Field Architecture was called to create a house for a private client. And it is this relationship, the strong presence of the fresh water element that flows through the site, and its deep impact on nature and life -human and beyond – that determines the design solution of this contemporary house.
Madrone Ridge in the United States
‘At the request of the owners, we created this residence to deepen their relationship with the land through the cycle of the seasons. During a trip to Africa, the owners were deeply moved by the relationship between the human habitat and the wild. With that experience in mind, they want to recreate the same feeling, because they live with the plants and animals of this property,’ said the architect.
He continued: ‘Instead of drawing from the architectural patterns of Sonoma County, or agrarian references from the valley, we looked to the woods – those wild, undeveloped natural areas that surround the house. – while allowing built structures to adapt to the natural terrain. . By simultaneously folding the house in on itself and reaching outward to the ground, we are building a homestead in a transitional space that sustains human activity as well as wildlife.’
The result is an impeccably modern house, geometric and carefully calculated. However, it is located among existing mature trees, open to nature through openings and outdoor areas, zigzagging between open air and closed spaces that accommodate the existing flora and fauna, allowing it to flourish.
The main house is located within two lower pavilions defined by their angled roofs, which are connected by a glazed element. Here, a sense of space prevails, with cooking, cleaning and storage integrated into the vertical surfaces of the rooms to free up the interior. A third, slightly detached two-story pavilion houses bedrooms and an office.
Copper cladding partly covers the exterior walls, giving it a distinctive character among the natural surroundings. At the same time, as the material ages over time, it embeds itself into the site and slowly becomes a part of the landscape.