West Cliff Drive | Santa Cruz, CA

This new home is located on an ocean front lot in the West Cliff district of Santa Cruz. +

This new home is located on an ocean front lot in the West Cliff district of Santa Cruz.

This home is enveloped in a hard metal exterior shell, a carapace, wrapping up the walls, over the roof and back down; the interior is protected from wind, sun, and salt of the ocean. Windows, terraces and a courtyard are carved from a geologic and organic form. The metal shell is perforated at the front and east sides, maximizing ocean views while providing a screen from the sun and wind.

The concrete walls form bookends at the east and west and are articulated with deep recesses, giving a play of light and shadow. A deep courtyard pierces the outer metal shell creating a protected, habitable outdoor space with views of the ocean to the west. It also allows natural light to penetrate deep into every interior room.

Like most of the Santa Cruz homes, the bedrooms are on the ground floor and the living spaces are above, maximizing cliff and ocean views for the kitchen, dining, and living rooms. A two-car garage is located in the basement to minimize the footprint of the house, allowing an outdoor garden in the rear. Sustainable features include: natural day lighting to reduce artificial light energy loads, built-in photovoltaic panels (BIPV) on the roof, fly-ash concrete walls that provide thermal mass to reduce heating costs, a hydronic heating system, operable windows optimized for stack ventilation, a cistern for rainwater collection and grey-water reuse, native landscaping, and environmentally sensitive interior finishes.