Off-pitch house | Los Altos, CA

Eichler’s midcentury modern inspiration is abundant in Northern and Southern California. The Off-Pitch home is a reconsideration of the area’s architectural precedent. +

The front facade is quiet—made of metal and wood slates—and offers privacy to the residents and fits comfortably with the neighboring ranch style houses. The pitched roof and visible atrium recall Eichler, but the asymmetry and modern materials adds levity and playfulness. Residents enter the open plan home through the library (atrium). This two-story room that serves as the hearth of the house, with other rooms branching off. There are three bedrooms upstairs, accessible through open staircase, and there is one guest room off to the side of the library—offering privacy when necessary. The living room, connected to the concept kitchen, where a folding door separates living area from the backyard. The back façade is completely open, with a large overhanging roof comprised of varied pitches. The broken up roof, which serves as an overhang, feels more like an umbrella for the outdoor living space of the house. Pitched roofs can often feel heavy and block off access to light but by using slats and varied angles, the heaviness of the overhang is removed. Shading for the library and family room is provided by a two-story façade of aluminum fins, whose design echoes the geometry of the roof and maximize sun deflection.

Our goal with this unique site was was to enhance the relationship of the structure to the nearby bodies of water. We anchored the new structure to the flanks of the hill (all bedrock) so that suspends the home completely over the water. Transparent materials and new site-lines open the house both to the back waterfall and the front and new decks provide desirable outdoor space.

The 2 first floors structures and orientation are within the confines of the existing house but the new third floor's orientation rotates 90 degrees to better relate to the site. This shift breaks up the mass on the structure and differentiates itself from the lower floors.

A steel structure was inserted underneath the existing floors, this allowed for the expansion of the third floor as well as the removal of all structural columns presently in the creek bed. The system is accented on all the floors by painting all the beams and columns yellow. Atop the steel frame, a roof hovers, creating a dynamic space and clerestory windows.

A man-made object in nature may exist in harmony or disparity. Our goal was to reconnect this structure into the environment while best utilizing the exceptional site for our clients.