Project: Waverley Residence
Architects: EYRC Architects
Collaborators: Matarozzi / Pelsinger Builders / Kristy Will Design (Interiors) / Blasen Landscape Architecture
Location: Old Palo Alto, Palo Alto, California
Size: 5,000 sf
Photography: Matthew Millman, Joe Fletcher
Text by EYRC Architects
The architecture on this residence for a young couple is a study in strong simple composition and materiality with an emphasis on craft. The massing defines solid and void, captures natural light, and connects the indoors with the landscape, seeking to ‘experience the outdoors from within.’
The ground floor volumes wrapped in an elongated hand-fired brick, emphasizing the horizontality of the architecture that lays solidly on the land. Bronze-trimmed ceiling planes slide between the brick masses, and floor-to-ceiling glazed openings are captured by thin-profiled bronze frames.
In contrast to the grounded brick volumes, the second floor is clad in stainless steel panels and oversized aluminum-framed windows. The lightness and openness of the second floor is nestled among the oak-tree canopies of the site.
A 30ft by 10ft continuous pane of glass runs alongside the grand stairwell of floating stone steps, connecting the three levels of the Waverley Residence. Due to the unprecedented size of this glass in residential design, it was custom manufactured in Germany and shipped to California. This dramatic moment in the sequence of progressing through the house helps visitors feel connected to the lush landscape outside.
Inside the house, materials such as a custom leather door and bronze anodized details were selected for their unique craftsman-style quality. Another custom-designed element is the steel mesh screen that wraps around to enclose the kitchen for privacy, separating this from the more public “guest hosting” areas adjacent. The steel screen slides along a track embedded into the teak slatted ceiling and disappears into the pantry when retracted.
At the basement level, a wine cellar and tasting room open to a sunken landscaped courtyard. A grand stairwell of floating stone steps connects the three levels.
A freestanding structure set deep back into the site is a zen-like fitness/yoga studio as well as a guesthouse with a kitchenette. This dramatic stone mass opens up completely in the center to give the impression of exercising outdoors. The landscape integrates California native plant species, grasses and trees to compliment the materiality of the architecture.
An exterior trellis connects the main house with the backhouse and studio, and helps frame the backyard and surrounding landscape which integrates California native plant species, grasses and trees to compliment the materiality, geometries and site response of the architecture.