Project Name: Round House
Architects: Feldman Architecture
General Contractor: Baywest Builders
Civil Engineer: Lea + Braze Engineering Inc
Landscape Design: Variegated Green
Structural Engineer: BKG Structural Engineers
Geotechnical Consultant: Romig Engineers Inc
Arborist: Urban Tree Management
Lighting Designer: Tucci Lighting
Location: Los Altos Hills, California, United States
Completion date 2020
Photography: Adam Rouse
Courtesy of Feldman Architecture
Tucked away in Los Altos Hills, the aptly named Round House is a geometrically unique structure; one of a few similarly shaped homes built in California in the 60s. The clients fell in love with this quirky circular house and initially planned a modest remodel. Soon after moving in, the pair recognized the inefficiencies of their new home – low window eaves curiously obstructed the otherwise spectacular views, spurring their desire to open and modernize the design. Our team set out to craft a respectful enrichment of the home’s original form, focusing in on a site-sensitive response to the steep, challenging plot.
Perched atop a precipitous site, the structure has 180-degree views with a deck that runs around its perimeter. The original central courtyard, once open-to-sky, transformed into the kitchen – an appropriate gesture for an aspiring baker and a family of food enthusiasts. A large circular skylight streams daylight into the kitchen, creating a makeshift sundial that illuminates different sections of custom curved casework throughout the day.
From the main entrance, visitors can effortlessly progress through the open plan living room, kitchen, and spacious deck before circumnavigating the house via a wrap-around walkway. A concentric hallway traces the kitchen, leading to discrete pie-shaped rooms carefully arranged to demarcate private from the public space. An outdoor deck is strategically carved out at the intersection of the living room and kitchen – framing sprawling views of the South Bay. Tall, curved pocket doors vanish into the walls, asserting a seamless indoor-outdoor connection. The modest perimeter deck allows outdoor access from all the bedrooms, while curved landscape walls radiate outward and into thoughtful softscape.
A Japanese style of charred wood siding, called Shou Sugi Ban, seamless concrete floors, crisp curved white walls, and minimalist interiors let the colorful and dramatic views speak first. Due to the challenges of its circular form, the project team had to look for creative solutions in each aspect of the venture. Most conventional solutions favor straight geometry, which made for a refreshing intervention that is an honest response to the constraints of this unique project.