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Corralitos, CA

The site of this new home, high in the hills above Pajaro Valley and commanding unexcelled views of Monterey Bay, the Salinas and Pajaro Valleys, and points between would be any architect’s dream. The client’s brief, prioritizing qualities such as “very highly insulated,” renewable energy (solar, wind electricity, solar hot water)”, and “explore alternative materials (straw bales, etc.)” made for a perfect match between the clients wants and the architect's mission statement.

Working with an undeveloped site, from scratch, allowed us to implement fundamental design strategies in support of responsible solar design. A “thin” organization of rooms, organized along an east west, axis, optimizes south-facing skin of the building envelope available to collect solar radiation while facilitating flow through the home of cooling breezes; that same organization typology maximizes the daylight available for each space.

Zoning of the rooms, both vertically and horizontally will facilitate use of cooler north rooms on warm days and of sunnier southern rooms on cooler days while taking advantage of natural heat stratification to the same effect; ample thermal mass in the form of concrete flooring will act as thermal battery to dampen diurnal temperature swings.

Design services for the home are currently underway. When completed, the Project as designed is intended to implement thermal design strategies combined with a photovoltaic array and site-located wind generation to allow the owners to live at a minimum carbon footprint and off-the-grid.

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