Many architects talk of responding to the site and integrating their buildings with the surrounding natural environment, but few execute that intention with the compelling completeness shown in this house design. Moreover, the decisions that shaped this unique home were driven as much by sustainability and energy savings as they were by aesthetics and formal considerations.
The glass roof that spans the main structure allows natural lighting deep into the Base Valley House while providing a way for breezes crossing the site to pass through and cool the structure. Bedrooms carved out of the ground below are kept out of the sun and cooled year round by the surrounding earth.
Encased in wire mesh, stone retaining walls continue seamlessly from outdoors through the inside of the house, providing structural support to hold back surrounding dirt. However, this critical design move is also a tangible visible connection from the rocky bed of an adjacent outside stream to the carved (also stream-like) passage that serves as the main indoor circulation and gathering space.