Work: Houses: Oak Knoll Residence
Oak Knoll District, Napa, California
5050 SF (Multiple Amenities - Estate)
Photographs by Joe Fletcher
Set within the vineyards and close to the center of town, the site for the house is a large plot dotted with full grown trees and vineyards.
The project consists of two houses connected with glass. Each house is protected from a busy road with two right angled walls - one is stone and one is cedar. A number of pieces behind these walls are arranged together around courtyards and terraces. In turn giving rise to a sequence of individual gardens, each with their own individual ambience. Gardens set among other limitless gardens. A system of slender spaces act like paths connecting the gardens and spaces, embracing and respecting the landscape.
The entrance garden is conceived as a porch-like atrium which leads to a solid redwood door crafted from the only tree removed from the site which opens to a small glass foyer which connects the two main parts of the house. To one side is an interior gateway through a cedar wall and to the other side is a portal through a thick stone wall. The gateway opens to a garden and guestrooms and the portal opens onto the family art collection and main house. The main house opens to vineyards on the valley floor with 270 degree views of the surrounding Mayacamas Mountains, Mt. St. Helena, and Stags Leap beyond. Guestrooms are through the cedar gateway and open to the southern views of vineyards, Stone Mountain, Mt. Vedeer and the city nearby. Meanwhile the utility areas are hidden away in front with easy access while increasing the buffer between the house and busy road towards the front of the house.
Large eaves create both a place to enjoy the outdoors all year around and protection from the summer sun, while letting in the right amount of winter sun. The envelope of the house enhances the control of the site while providing a sense of privacy and protection while juxtaposed with large openings to the surrounding landscape. The materialization of this project reflects its rural setting, while softening its urban attributes of shelter in front and massive openings behind those urban attributes and human nature.