Designed as a comfortable retreat from stressful daily life, the Calistoga Residence is an old residential building redesigned by Strening Architects and made to fit the needs and wishes of a Washington DC couple who wanted to relocate. This 25 acre property is located in Calistoga, California, a delightful place with wonderful weather. Californian studio Strening Architects revamped the original construction – described by them as a “poorly conceived series of stucco boxes with no relationship to the outdoor spaces, or the distant vistas” -and offered their clients the possibility of enjoying distant mountain views and the serenity of the surrounding nature.
A series of large windows, the outdoor living, dining and entertaining areas and the poolside terrace encourage the couple to spend more time outdoors: “Our design response was to create two distinct outdoor ‘loggias’ on the front and back of the house to take advantage of wine country indoor/outdoor living, and to completely re-imagine the front of the house to allow the spectacular view of the Napa Valley to become part of their living experience. The simple palette of materials, stone, stucco, wood and steel are used in a way to bring some refined elegance to the property; reflecting the sophisticated vision of the clients“, declared the architects. Once you start looking at the photos, you’ll fins many details worth mentioning.
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.
The best architects can create designs which will give clients and the public things they didn’t even realise they wanted, and this is especially important when architects are given the difficult brief of creating structures in much-loved, iconic areas.