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Monday, July 9, 2012

Dawn & Dusk


Ezine Special


By Savitha Hira
Photographs: Courtesy Olson Kundig Architects


Ar. Jim Olson’s residential dwelling in a Californian hillside exudes his archetypal communiqué with site and surrounding, climate and culture…

“Peacefulness and harmony are radical in today’s world because they have become so rare. I want to bring harmony and love of nature back as an everyday experience.” says Ar. Jim Olson as he talks about the ongoing design of a 4 acre site in a residential neighborhood on a Californian hillside with spectacular water and city views.

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“The house is intended to alternately nestle into the terrain and float over it, extending out over the landscape on the downhill side,” he explains. And this is because the neighbourhood has strict requirements protecting the views from the existing homes.

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Home to a young active family with growing children and changing needs, and a growing art collection of paintings and sculptures that command requisite display areas, the design emphasizes on physical and spiritual wellness, creating indoor and outdoor spaces for gatherings, recreation and art. Oriented to capture views, harvest breezes for natural ventilation, and take full advantage of the sun for interior day lighting, most roof surfaces will have either a green roof or solar PV panels, reducing the buildings’ environmental impact.

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Weaving it all into a harmonious whole, large areas of glazing will engage daylight and views, while generous roof overhangs will mitigate the summer sun. In terms of materials, there is an extensive use of two types of limestone for cladding and paving; while a variety of wood species are used in the interior on floors, ceilings and casework to provide warmth and variety in the palette. 

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Once again, the veteran architect designs a timeless structure that unifies landscape, architecture, furniture and art into one integrated expression. It is grand and elegant, but it is also understated and natural. “It takes a lifetime to learn how to do this successfully,” he concludes.

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