San Francisco-based Schwartz and Architecture completed a handsome home that complements, rather than detracts, from its wild and rural California landscape. Set on a grassy clearing among winding hills in Nicasio, the Crook Cup Bow Twist House is built with natural materials including timber, stone, and raw concrete throughout. Topped with rooftop solar panels and designed with energy-efficient systems, the Crook Cup Bow Twist House operates almost entirely off-grid, exceeding the highest level of Marin County Green Building standards.



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The 4,000-square-foot Crook Cup Bow Twist House was built as a second home for the client who sought a quiet escape from city life. The contemporary home is divided into two long and narrow volumes that adhere to existing contours and are wrapped in glazing to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors. The site and the placement of the home were carefully selected based on studies of the existing topography, views, trails, and solar paths for maximizing access to natural light and creating an energy efficient design.

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“Conceptually, the new buildings become the knot at the center of these routes, drawing strands of movement in, engaging them with others, and releasing them back out again,” write the architects. “On the most basic level, the architectural aim is to propel the occupants out of the confines of the home and back out into the ‘un-tamed’ landscape beyond. The home becomes a base camp for exploration, continuously provoking a relationship to the great outdoors and inspiring a sense of wanderlust.”

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The “base camp” house is luxurious and features five bedrooms and large open-plan living and dining areas. Timber surfaces lend warmth to the interior, which is illuminated by natural light that flows through large windows framing countryside views in every room. A modest and earthy materials palette keeps the focus on the outdoors. The architects embrace the inevitable weathering of the materials, from the steel that will eventually rust and the graying cedar siding. The home even derives its name from its eucalyptus solar screen that will gradually crook, cup, bow, and twist with each passing day.

+ Schwartz and Architecture

Images via Schwartz and Architecture, by Bruce Damonte