Branch House is located in an oak grove that runs through a subdivision of one acre lots with single-family ranch style homes built in the San Yisdro Ranch area of Montecito. The predominant natural features of the site include the San Ysidro Creek that the property backs up to and the native grove of coastal live oaks that once blanketed the coastal hillside. Our architecture seeks to forge a closer relationship with the site and its vegetation, an approach that is sensitive to both the past and the local ecology. Working closely with an arborist, the volumes of the house are laid out amongst the existing oak trees and hovering on a concrete plane above the ground.
In contrast to the more traditional homes common to the area, clearly demarking front and back yards, Branch House is arranged in the round, on a single level, as a cluster of program volumes each with its own unique orientation to light and view. An interstitial connecting spine lined with glass serves the dual purpose as the home’s main circulation and as a gallery for the display of art. In addition to a primary view towards the landscape, each volume has a secondary source of light and view through a skylight. The effect is to give the home the sense of being amongst the oak grove.
PROJECT TEAM: Peter Tolkin, Jeremy Schacht, Albert Escobar
ENGINEERS: Joseph Perazzelli (Structural), Michael Viettone Civil Engineering
CONSULTANTS: Westree Inc., Monterey Energy Group, Inc.