Landscape Architect & Specifier News

NOV 2017

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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Located at the foot of a windy, yet alluring hillside in Lafayette, Calif. (pop. 24,285), lies a beguiling collection of outdoor spaces. Lafayette is in Contra Costa County, located in the East Bay of the greater San Francisco metro area. Within the enticing landscape of this home are separate areas for cooking, dining, socializing, sunning and gardening. Highlighting the landscape are wood lamellae structures created for multiple social functions and modifying microclimate conditions. A professional couple with two children desired a renovation of their small backyard. The home is a simple two-story stucco structure built within a 30-unit development by a public builder in the early 1980s. The owners desired a place where they could entertain outdoors while providing a separate space for their teen children. A large lawn and unused wood play structure dominated their typical suburban backyard. The clients' main objective was to have a warm, inviting landscape for their family and guests. The 40' x 80' rear yard had two 14' wide side yards. The rear of the home faced directly south, which necessitated the back shades always be drawn; that didn't prevent the backside of the home from over heating. An outside shade structure was necessary, but it couldn't obstruct the beautiful hillside views. Furthermore, strict HOA design requirements dictated constraints on type, size, height and placement of landscape elements in the yard. The site was strongly influenced by an open space hillside in the rear. The hillside directed strong breezes and late afternoon winds into the yard. The breezes were made more powerful by the venturi effect along the rear facades of neighboring homes. The challenge was creating all of the desired social spaces, while ensuring they would be comfortable and livable. While the size of the back yard was not atypical for a production home in many parts of the San Francisco Bay area, the HOA design requirements, client requests and existing space restrictions required an inventive design. The owners requested areas specifically for dining, socializing, relaxing, sunning, cooking, gardening, food production and space storage. They also desired separate areas for a teen spa and a social area that required delicate space allocation. The landscape architects believed a climate modifying structure could solve functional challenges while being a "The clients' main objective was to have a warm, inviting landscape for their family and guests." The 18' x 32' and 9'-8" tall Alaskan cedar "lamellae" (gill-shaped) structure covering the dining area of this hillside residence in Lafayette, Calif., is a contemporary framework to filter the sun's rays and deflect some of the wind that whips down the hill at the back of the property. Hillside Residence East Bay Style Landscape Architecture by Robert Mowat Associates, San Francisco and Napa Valley PHOTOGRAPHY: TREVE JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY AND MITCHELL SHENKER November 2017 35

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