the way we live

montecito residence


this is the new montecito residence by seattle’s olson sunberg kundig allen architects.  built in the fire prone region of toro canyon (southern california).  according to oskaa’s website,

“montecito residence is a single-family home set in the fire-prone toro canyon.  the owners wanted a house that minimized its use of scarce natural resources and recognized the challenging environmental conditions of the area.  the design solution is a house that functions as an umbrella to shield the house from the sun and allows naturally cool offshore breezes to move through the space. the house is made of simple, fire resistant materials.  steel will be allowed to oxidize and concrete will be toned to allow the house to blend into the landscape.”


to me this seems like greenwashing at it’s finest.  i can’t find one piece of design information (outside of the exaggerated roof size to shade the house from direct solar gains, which is even questionable based upon the interior image posted below) to back up the claims that the design, in fact, minimizes, “its use of scarce natural resources.”  i would love to be told i’m wrong and that the house makes full use of led lighting throughout, rainwater catchment and greywater systems, renewable energies, passive cooling systems, composting/no flush toilets, prefabricated components, etc.  additionally, the house appears to be quite a ways from major access and resources which leads one to wonder about energy required for transportation and construction (as we discussed in the comments of the zero house).  however, to me it appears as though this house is just gorgeous, not green.


that being said, this house is stunning.  the clean geometric lines, sweeping roof, and wonderfully textured and toned materials palette make this structure so aesthetically successful.


even the interior is clean and refined as you can see in the above image.  the views are impressively framed throughout with the ample glazing provided.  if someone out there knows more about the sustainable aspects of this house please let me know, because with something as stunning as this design i would love to know that it is as environmentally responsive as the architect claims it to be. has more pictures if you want to check it out.


13 November 2007 - Posted by | architecture, modern

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