Dwell Home II

This winning entry for the Dwell Home II competition is a house for a family on a site in Topanga Canyon, California. While the design addresses a wide range of sustainability issues, it also continues an ongoing investigation into the organization of space. A massive plinth, skewed to best address views, topography and required set-backs, supports the living area, surrounded by a verandah on all four sides. A green roof hovers above. An open living, dining and cooking area is at the center of the house with views to the landscape. Bracketing this central space, and separating it from the two sleeping areas at opposite ends of the building, are two almost identical utility cores. A gray water system and on-site wastewater treatment reduce domestic water usage; solar panels make the house energy-independent. The overhangs, the green roof and a series of fixed and movable shading devices control the heat gain; "cool air cavities" in the crawl space further reduce the ambient temperature of the summer.