A patriarch dreams to build a family home—”a jewel box for individual lifestyles”—in which he, his wife, and his four children’s future families will reside. Three of the children are currently too young to have families of their own or to define their future needs and desires. A building concept is thereby required that can accommodate families that do—and do not yet—exist. The patriarch’s other major wishes are that the ensemble of five homes has the architectural integrity of a single structure, that the building look as though it has always been part of the site, and that it incorporate a classic double stair.
Global Architecture & Design Awards 2018
Second Award | Category: Housing (Upto 5 Floors) (Concept)

Architect: REX
Team Personnel: Giannantonio Bongiorno, Tim Burwell, Alberto Cumerlato, Mahasti Fakourbayat, Mette Fast, Alysen Hiller (PL), Tyler Hopf, Gabriel Jewell-Vitale, Min Kim, Dominyka Mineikyte, Elizabeth Nichols, Joshua Ramus, Raul Rodriguez (PL), Emma Silverblatt, Aude Soffer,
Minyoung Song, Elina Spruza Chizmar (PL), Michele Tonizzo, Cristina Webb, Vaidotas Vaiciulis, Michael Volk

Country: United States

To create a structure in which each home can be experienced autonomously and as a component of a larger domestic network, the program is organized into a necklace whose gems alternate between the five homes and two shared pavilions: an event space and an entertainment space. The extraordinary site commands views out to the ocean from a high bluff on one side, and into a dense, old-growth forest on the other. Straddling the line between these radically different landscapes, the necklace achieves a residential Holy Grail: it exists simultaneously at the beach and in the woods. Each of the five homes are thus afforded different site experiences: ocean, forest, or half-and-half.

While the ocean-side portions of the residence are on grade, due to the site’s steep drop-off, the forest-side portions extend horizontally into the tree canopy, giving these elements a tree-house experience. Entry is gained by driving under the residence’s elevated components into a secret garden at the building’s heart. To accommodate the possible needs and proclivities of families which do not yet exist, the five homes are designed as unique gems on the necklace, each with a distinct living typology based loosely upon one of five canonical, American Modernist homes. Should the four children and their families live permanently at the residence, the palette of homes will provide options to which each child—with his or her family’s future lifestyle preferences—might gravitate. Should the four children and their families only make frequent visits to the residence, they can enjoy alternate architectural and site experiences each stay.

The residence’s exterior is wrapped in mirror glass which makes the building disappear into the site. The effect reduces the perception of the structure’s large mass and surreptitiously achieves the patriarch’s desire for a structure that “looks as if it has always been part of the site” by looking like it isn’t there at all. Driving under the cantilevered home, one enters the arrival courtyard: a secret garden whose clear, fluted glass visually ties the three-generational family together. The residence’s main entry and its curling reinterpretation of a classic double stair provide access to the residence’s roof terrace, while also serving as an event space with views to the ocean and central garden. By night, the exterior’s mirror glass appears to dissolve, creating a lively lantern on the bluff.

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