Questions of contextual design become fundamentally different when an architect is designing in nature, as opposed to an urban or even a suburban or semi-rural environment. What are appropriate stylistic, color and material choices to suit a given setting and how does one make a structure sustainable and unique and but also something that reflects its surroundings and responds to environmental conditions?


This award-winning house by by OSKA works with the issues of site, context and livability at a number of scales and in a variety of ways. From a distance, the house reflects the slopes, curves and colors of the rolling hills around it. Up close, the sharp angles cast strong shadows but the modern lines are softened by the use of a natural made-to-weather set of concrete and steel materials.


All of these moves are more than mere design affectations – the large overhangs are essential to keeping the house cool in this desert-like environment by providing shade by also channeling the winds that come up over the hillside in order to naturally ventilate the home. The heavy-duty materials are intentionally burn-resisent because the area is prone to forest and brush fires.