Located in California’s Central Valley, this family retreat nestles amidst the grazing livestock of a thriving walnut farm. From the base of a large hill, the house opens up to eastward views of rolling hills along the San Andreas Fault. Three long, gently arcing rammed earth walls anchor both the indoor and outdoor spaces to the site. Private suites and a bunk-room offer lodging options for guests and the owner’s grown children and grandchildren, while large communal gathering and cooking spaces bring everyone together. A palette of wood, glass, steel, and stone compliment the bold texture of rammed earth.
The House achieves LEED Gold performance through passive heating and cooling, alternative energy, sustainably-harvested materials, and drought-tolerant landscape design. Site-generated geothermal energy runs the home’s radiant heating and cooling system, while solar thermal and photovoltaic arrays power the net-zero home. Solar orientation optimizes southeast glazing to warm concrete flooring and earthen walls. Roof overhangs and external shades moderate light and heat throughout the summer months.
Contractor: Stocker and Allaire
Landscape Architect: Bernard Trainor + Associates
Structural Engineer: Yu Strandberg Engineering
Civil Engineer: San Benito Engineering and Surveying, Inc.
Rammed Earth Consultant: Rammed Earth Works
Rammed Earth Contractor: Benchmark Development
Lighting Designer: Hiram Banks Lighting Design
Photography: Joe Fletcher