Environmentally Responsible Contemporary Take On Classic Western Ranch Design

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The design for the Caterpillar House, sited on the rolling hills of the Santa Lucia Preserve, sought to accentuate a connection to the land. Having lived in a Cliff May home, the owner approached the project with a love of modern ranch houses and seeking an environmentally-conscious response to a beautiful site.

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The Caterpillar House implements sustainable elements while exploring a contemporary version of the ranch ideals: massing that is low and horizontal, an open plan with a strong connection between indoor and outdoor spaces, and main living areas that focus informally on the kitchen.

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Excavated earth was repurposed for the construction of rammed earth walls gently curving in response to the site’s contours and functioning as a thermal mass, regulating temperatures from day to night. Capturing rainwater for irrigation, three tanks sit close to the home.

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Large south-facing glass doors open the main living area to a large covered porch and to an outdoor patio with sunshades that expand and contract to allow for a flexible entertaining area that responds to the client’s needs. The glazing, natural ventilation and operable shading also act as a passive heating and cooling system, cooling the house in the summer and warming the house in winter. Artfully done, integrated photovoltaic panels enable the house to produce all of its energy requirements without compromising the graceful curve of the low roof against the hill.

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Caterpillar House is designed by Feldman Architecture



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