Sonoma Residence With A View Receives the AIA Architecture Merit Award from AIA-RE
Asquared Studios’ first rammed earth residential design was honored at the 2022 AIA-RE Design Awards
On Saturday, October 15, at the AIA Redwood Empire Design Awards, The Sonoma Residence With A View received the Merit Award for Architecture, and the impressions were overwhelming – “The jury stated that the house unfolded in a beautiful way at every turn.”
Inspired by the rugged, prehistoric terrain and the inherent tranquilly of the site, this modern, pagoda-style house was designed as a quiet sanctuary. Nestled atop a knoll below a dramatic ridgeline in the Moon Mountain District American Viticultural Area that overlooks the Sonoma Valley grape-growing region and the San Francisco Bay, the new, one-bedroom abode was conceived as a series of interlocking boxes, arranged to maximize the views and complement the landscape.
Tasked with creating a minimalist, rural design to reflect the owner’s Eastern aesthetics and love of the land, the architects suggested a simple, textural material palette. Using reduced-carbon rammed earth, corrosion-resistant corten steel, renewable wood, and high-performing glass, the low-lying structure appears to arise from the scattered boulders that dot the 300-acre property. The striated rammed earth walls frame windswept heritage trees and seem to map the rows of grapevines that hug the hillside below. Corten steel siding, reminiscent of the surrounding volcanic lava rock, define the structure’s distinct geometric forms. A raised, pagoda-style roof marks the arid skyline and works in concert with the expanses of glass window walls that allow the home to open to the land while circulating fresh air throughout. Deep eves protect from the elements while creating a spiritual connection to the surroundings.
Inside is equally as contemplative. The rammed earth is accentuated against neutral paint colors and accents of walnut, shou sugi ban, blackened steel, and poured concrete floors that were worked into a unique distressed finish. Wood and natural light abounds. Exposed walnut ceilings extend to the outdoors, covering pathways and al fresco seating.
At the project’s center is the great room with a high-performing 40-ft wide by 11-ft tall sliding glass wall, laid out along a Northern axis to take advantage of the Bay view. Walnut cabinetry anchors the open kitchen. Across the way, a shou sugi ban entertainment nook adds a moody depth to an otherwise sunlit living space. To the West is a home office complete with a window wall that erases the boundaries between indoors and out. To the East, the en suite bedroom captures the morning light. Custom midcentury casework defines the sleeping quarters while an elevated wet room with Japanese soaking tub opens to a zen garden via a large pocketing floor-to-ceiling window.
Throughout, artwork and objets d’ art, collected from the owner’s travels, are tastefully displayed. The design also features a yoga studio with yoga wall, an outdoor fire-pit, laundry room, and a wine room.
Additional information + Press about the awards can be found at the Press Democrat