Blurring lines between indoors and out: Turner Residence

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Turner Residence was designed to be beautifully simple and connected to nature by Jensen Architects, nestled hillside in Larkspur, California. The homeowners desired for their new home to be environmentally sensitive, and universally accessible. This dream home would be positioned to enjoy the unique property and views of the bay, be respectful of the neighbors and community, and serve as an example of the best of contemporary design.

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A plinth and a pavilion. Nestled into the hillside, the long, solid plinth contains the private rooms of the house. Atop this plinth sits a transparent living and dining pavilion that opens up completely for access to the outdoor decks, pool patio and expansive views to Mount Tamalpais and the bay. An elegant structural solution allows the views to be uninterrupted by perimeter sheer walls. The majority of the site is left undeveloped with its forest of native oaks intact.

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When the house is in use, there is almost no house. The goal was to make a building disappear into the landscape. The site itself is stunning: the ridge line of an oak covered hill with views of Mount Tamalpais, the Bay, and beyond. The idea was to make a house that allowed for living on the ridge without diminishing the ridge and its vantage point. The roof springs outward from a solid core with no perimeter shear walls.

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Structurally, the house mimics the surrounding oaks with their branches extending horizontally from solid trunks. Under this floating roofline, an array of sliding glass panels can retract completely into the core. What remains is almost nothing: a pool patio with a shade canopy. Mirror panels on the core further veil the building. In the end the house mimics, reflects, and merges with the surrounding oaks.

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The function of the home is orchestrated within a series of soft thresholds, blurring the line between inside and outside, between home and setting. With the glass walls pocketed into the core, the interior spaces flow out onto the adjacent terraces, landscapes, and panoramas. The living room sits high above the ground and surrounding oaks, opening to private yet expansive views of Mt. Tam and the green terrain. At the northeast side of the house, the dining room, kitchen, pool, and main terrace are effectively fashioned into a single unified indoor/outdoor living area.

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Photos: Courtesy of Jensen Architects

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