Project of the Week: Skyline House, Oakland, California, United States
Oakland, California, plays host to some of the most stunning vistas of the United States. From the top of the East Bay Mountains, which overlooks the city, one can take in a breath-taking landscape of rolling hinterlands, glittering seas and stunning man-made wonders. It is a view any home owner would envy.
Perched over 1,800 metres above sea level is a unique family dwelling that offers these incredible panoramas. Skyline House, a fitting name given its lofty vantage point, might be the perfect Oakland home. Designed by Terry & Terry Architecture, this project was commissioned by a young family, who wanted plenty of space and to keep in touch with Oakland’s natural beauty.
Design wise, Skyline House features an open plan layout. Individual bedrooms and bathrooms aside, the main living space is framed as one large room, containing a kitchen, lounge and dining areas.
This approach was influenced by the landscaping and garden elements, which channel the visitor’s focus through the house. The main structure is longitudinally flanked by two iconic Californian Redwood trees. According to the architects, this pair guides vision through the home itself out to those incredible views from the back of the house.
Subsequently, the house acts more like a tube, connecting these two separate areas of the Californian countryside by ensuring the interiors are uninhibited by internal walls and design features. Of course, an open-plan design provides a greater degree of internal space too – exactly what you want for a young family with pets and children.
Skyline House itself has been conceived using simple geometries. It’s a mostly oblong structure, featuring rectangular dimensions across almost all of its elevations. Mountains are rarely flat and even, so Skyline House itself spreads over two levels, responding to the hilly context of the site. On the top level we find the family and living spaces. A stair shaft leads down through a crevasse to the lower floor, which features a media room, office area, and another bedroom.
Despite being mostly rectangular, full of 90° angles and sharp edges, there are still some softer, rounder design points to check out on this project. In the main open-area space, for example, the roof warps and curves away in a gentle, wave-like way. Apart from being an attractive feature in and of itself, it also holds a more practical function.
Grooves and louvres cut into the warped-out ceiling transform it from simple aesthetic piece to a functional ventilation aid for Skyline House’s living spaces. It captures sea-borne breezes wafting in from San Francisco Bay to naturally cool interiors. The site itself is subject to some extreme temperatures, so combating these in a natural way was a clever piece of residential design from Terry & Terry Architecture.
Internally, the schemes are dominated by a large level of timber and wood – another way of tying Skyline House to Oakland’s natural landscape. California is noted for its large redwood forests, so it would be a shame for the designers not to embrace this very Californian wonder into its final plan – especially one that currently sits on and informs the project site.
At night, internal LED lighting couples with the wooden elements’ rich palette of hues to create an atmosphere of comfort and warmth; all attributes any family home should have. From fiery oranges to deep, velvety chocolate browns, this interplay between the lighting and physical aspects draws more depth and character from Skyline House.
Responding to client demands, Terry & Terry Architecture has devised a modern home that exists in harmony with the natural landscape as required, and provides enough practicality to ensure its occupants can live in comfort whatever the weather. Skyline House thus takes up its rightful place in the hallowed halls of WorldBuild365’s collection of Projects of the Week.
Images: © Bruce Damonte Photography
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