Fading right into the Big Sur landscape, this three-bedroom house is nearly invisible when viewed from certain angles. And that’s just how Mickey Muennig, the mastermind behind the project, wanted it. The 74-year old architect kept the environment in mind when he designed the sod roof and seeded it with native grasses and wildflowers. The roof is part of a garden that starts at Cooper Point, Big Sur, and stretches out to the Pacific Ocean.

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The difficulty of building along this beautiful California coastline–home to one of the strictest land-use policies in the US–didn’t deter Muennig; instead, it seemed to inspire him to adhere to and accommodate the natural beauty of the landscape. Before ground was broken, archeological and geological experts surveyed the land and a botanist checked for endangered plants. After the house was built, landscape designers planted a blend of native coastal grasses, and outer parts of the building were seeded with a ground cover of manzanita, along with wind and drought-resistant plants.

The house does not rely on the PG&E grid for energy, drawing power from solar panels instead. A 6 to 8 inch sod roof provides insulation, reducing energy costs. In fact, the owners say they’ve cut their energy consumption by half. And because the house was built in the shape of an aerodynamic hump, it’s protected from strong gusts of winds that blow up to 100 miles per hour.

Via WSJ magazine