Accurately named “Box on the Rock”, this project was developed in 2015 by Schwartz and Architecture (SaA), a collaborative studio with a general approach that’s equal parts strategy and creativity. Their creations put together abstract and tangible forces, filtering everything according to each client’s needs and the result is a highly interactive and individualized design process which takes into consideration all details including the budget, schedule, building codes and regulations as well as construction methods and techniques.
Box on the Rock is a residence located in Sonoma, California. It occupies 2000 square feet of space, being compact and highly efficient from multiple points of view. The combination between a small footprint and a dramatic site offer the house individuality and character.
As with every project, there were a few challenges in this case. A series of shallow underground waterways are present on the site, running across it and surfacing in unexpected and undesired locations. This created the necessity for pier footings which raised the house off the ground, placing it on a platform.
By doing that, the architects also had to optimize the footprint and to make it as efficient as possible. The result was the compact and simple-looking structure you see here.
Because is the only existing construction on a three-acre site, this raised another challenge. This building had to all the required functions, this referring to both the indoor and the outdoor spaces needed within this large area. In addition, everything had to be optimized to offer all year-round comfort.
The very small footprint was also chosen in response to a limited budget and a difficult site. The client and the architects worked together to make this a self-contained and site-specific living space with a minimal environmental impact. Their goal was to amplify every experience, to offer panoramic views and to create the impression of spaciousness and an overall expansive feeling.
The central courtyard and the cantilevered deck were strategically carved out of the box. This way all the interior spaces get to benefit from abundant natural light and to have access to a contained and protected outdoor space.
The interior is simple and space-efficient. The kitchen and dining area share an open plan are they are separated from the living room through a divider. The interior design is simple, allowing the necessary dose of fresh and vibrant accent colors to come from outside, through the large corner windows and the glazed facade.
The house was designed to capture the morning sun and to make the most of the surroundings. At the same time, it maintains the warmth during the winter and avoids the harsh summer sun, ensuring a comfortable living environment.
Everything so far points to a highly site-responsive, environmentally-sensitive and affordable project, perfectly modeled after specific client needs and site challenges.