House of Four Ecologies

The House of Four Ecologies is a 1,600 square-foot residence conceived by a group of long time friends who will share the residence and its access to the sublime coastal environment of Sea Ranch—the collective nature of the house necessitated a layout that allows for socializing, but also solitude for individual reflection and creative craft. Hence, the single-family house is reimagined as an interconnected cluster of four small volumes, each holding space for privacy as well as gathering.

As a contextually responsive strategy, multiple smaller volumes become far more agile in physically navigating around the existing natural features on the site—most prominently a small cluster of windblown but healthy fir trees at its center. These four volumes dance between the trees in a delicate choreography that pays deference to their residency, taking advantage of their presence to protect from wind and frame view corridors to scenery afar.

Navigating the house is like ambling through the landscape. As one moves between programs and activities throughout the day, one also encounters in motion the changes in the environment as well as the passage of light. One might imagine enjoying the morning light upon the ocean in the living room, basking in the warm noon sun in the sheltered courtyard, sharing a meal in the dining room tucked between the embrace of fir trees, and adjourning to the family room under the soft glow of the meadow at dusk for an evening of festivities. The living room and family room anchor the house with their distant views, while the courtyard and dining room produce a more intimate encounter with nearby landscapes. As one journeys through the house, they are continuously connected to these transforming ecologies with views close and far, narrow and wide. Ultimately the House of Four Ecologies emerges as a cluster of connected volumes, each oriented towards and holding deep reverence for the multitude of natural environments that surround this shared sanctuary between friends.

Location: Sea Ranch, CA
Client: Self-Developed
Year: 2022–
Type: Residential
Size: 1,600 SF
Status: Permitting-in-Progress

Team: James Leng (Architect), Natasha Sadikin, Hoang Nguyen, Juney Lee, Hannah Pae (Landscape)