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Falcon House

Falcon House is located on Falcon Ridge Road, which winds along a steeply inclined ridge in a stretch of foothills within Carmel Valley in Monterey County. An old lichen covered barn and split rail, cedar fences characterize this area known as Markham Ranch, and contrast sharply with the preponderance of sprawling, large estate-style homes, many more at-home in the Italian countryside than any landscape of California. Designed for a young family, Falcon House responds to the family’s desire to live a more modest lifestyle, eschewing overt displays of extravagance for an intimate and deferential relation to nature. The 3,200-square-foot residence occupies a difficult portion of the northern slope of a hillside, overlooking a verdant valley and oriented toward Castle Rock in the distance. The steep terrain necessitated a compartmentalized plan capable of negotiating the gentle hillock at the center of the site. A corridor bridge spans two pieces of the house, uniting living and sleeping spaces and allowing an existing watercourse to flow essentially through the house unobstructed. Large panels of glass open the living spaces to the landscape, beneath the deep overhang of a butterfly roof. Operable clerestories placed high on the window-wall allow prevailing breezes to cool the interior spaces. The bedroom wing of the house hugs the hillside as it turns to the west, ensuring privacy from the main living spaces. The sense of seclusion and protection of this wing is reinforced by its lower roofline and its embedment into the hill. Initial resistance by neighboring homeowners has given way to appreciation, having seen the results of careful siting and a material and color palate sympathetic to the surrounding hillsides. The dwelling embodies an attitude of respect for the landscape, and through that perspective Falcon House has become as natural a part of its environment as the hawks flying overhead. 2008 AIA Orange County Chapter Merit Award
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