Butterfly House

See a video walkthrough of the house here.

The clients approached Feldman Architecture to design a retreat for eventual retirement and visits from their grown children—a retreat befitting the natural beauty of the location in the Santa Lucia Preserve, a 20,000 acre private development and land trust near Carmel, California. The clients were meticulous in the selection of the site, searching for two years for a spectacular piece of land that was flat enough to accommodate living on one level. In an initial meeting with Feldman Architecture, the clients noted their vision of butterflies alighting on the meadow site, which the architects took as inspiration. They also expressed a desire to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces with a simple, modern aesthetic and to provide separate spaces for their visitors.

Sitting lightly on the land, the house is divided into three pavilions that are topped by expressive butterfly roofs. Each pavilion has a separate function: the central pavilion houses the main living, dining, and cooking spaces, while two other pavilions provide for sleeping, bathing, and relaxing. The structures are modest in size, yet each expands into an outdoor room that opens up to dramatic views of the canyon below and hills above.

Beyond poetic gesture, the butterfly roofs bring in views of the surrounding hills, expand the main living spaces into the outdoors and also harvest rainwater. Water, an increasingly limited resource, is celebrated throughout the design. Each roof funnels water to a rain chain fountain and into landscape collection pools, which then gather in cisterns where it is stored and used to irrigate the landscape. In addition, the pavilions were sited to allow storm water to flow under the office bridge during the rainy season and seep slowly into the ground in the main courtyard.

LOCATION Carmel, California

Contractor: Groza Construction
Interior Design: Feldman Architecture
Lighting Design: Kim Cladas Lighting Design
Landscape: Ground Studio
Engineer: Sheerline Structural Engineering
Audio Visual: MetroEighteen
Cabinetry, Stair Treads, and Custom Furniture: Commercial Woodworking
Photography: Joe Fletcher and Jason Liske

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONAIA Monterey Bay – 2013 Design Awards Citation
The Chicago Athenaeum – 2015 American Architecture Award

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