The philosophy behind this Sanctuary Palo Alto project in Northern California revolves around the architecture and landscape being one expression, with a primary goal to provide a wide range of visual and experiential moments within this constrained site.
Two prolific California-based design firms, Feldman Architecture and Ground Studio Landscapes, teamed up to complete the job. Inspired by the work of one another, the two companies were very much in tune to discuss the design integration of architecture and landscape together.
The preservation of the natural environment is always of utter importance for all parties involved in the design. “We always study the local ecotype and build off this with plant materials from similar environments and climates – Materials that appear to be ‘comfortable’ and adapted,” notes Bernard Trainor, founder of Ground Studio.
Stone, crushed gravel, concrete, and dark stained timber provide a clear counterpoint to fresh fern fronds, maples, dogwoods, and vibrant low grasses. Natural Boulders are artfully sliced into sections, their rough textures contrasting with the smooth linearity of board form concrete and vertical dark stained wood.
Vibrant green carpets of grasses and flowering ground covers soften edges of crisp rectilinear concrete paving and raised wood platform decks, and crushed gravel areas accentuate a seamless horizontal plane and offer open spaces to linger before reentering the outside world.
All in all, the Sanctuary project took between two to three years to complete. On tying the landscaping to the architecture of the home, Bernard explains, “the materials were carefully selected in concert with the house – There is one integrated palette. The spaces are scaled to be used as ‘garden rooms’.”
To rooms are organised around gardens and courtyards, bringing the outdoors in from all sides through plentiful floor to ceiling windows, some of which slide open to the outdoor areas. Feldman Architecture made sure to protect roots of the surrounding trees by lifting the structure above the ground.