Winged Retreat
Matthew Millman

Winged Retreat

Aidlin Darling Design as Architects

Situated on a sloping site in the Santa Lucia Preserve, an ecological preserve in the Carmel Valley hills, this house is both responsive and respectful towards its environment in a community that emphasizes the preservation of natural and scenic resources and living in harmony with nature.  

The main house is situated with the long facades of its two wings to the north and south, a sustainable design strategy for passive control of the interior environment. The walls are mostly solid along the south facades to keep the hot summer sun from penetrating directly into the building. Clerestory windows above are shaded by deep eaves, allowing in the low rays of the warming winter sun and diffusing daylight year-round. The west facades are predominantly glass, framing dynamic hillside views, while extremely deep, cantilevered eaves block solar gain from the summer sun. Wooden decks project from the ends of the house on the western side, taking advantage of the shelter provided by the eaves. The master bedroom integrates exterior operable louvers that provide late afternoon solar shading, graduated privacy, and blackout for sleeping.

Monolithic walls of board form concrete and integrally colored plaster anchor the home to the site, while glass and natural materials such as cedar siding, walnut flooring, and ipe decks provide a sense of lightness, serenity, and connectivity to the landscape.

The unique shape of the roof is derived from both performance and context. From the exterior, the roof appears to be a simple shed roof--a quiet and humble shape inspired by the local agrarian vernacular. From the interior, however, the bottom of the roof is sculpted in response to the sun and also to the quality and scale of interior spaces.

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