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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Ridge House in Sonoma County, California by Cary Bernstein Architect

April 6th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal

This new house is sited on a north-facing ridge overlooking the Dry Creek Valley. The site and climate required an architecture that tempers the seasonally intense sun and wind while still engaging the spectacular landscape and views.


Ridge House - Photograph by Sharon Risedorph

  • Architect: Cary Bernstein Architect
  • LOCATION: Sonoma County, California
  • COMPLETION: 2008
  • PROJECT TEAM: Sarah Garber, Hector Martell, Klara Kevane, Sini Kamparri, Tomas Rizo
  • LANDSCAPE: Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture
  • CONSTRUCTION: RCI Construction, Inc.
  • ENGINEERING: JEC Structural Consulting
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Sharon Risedorph
  • Software used: AutoCAD for dessign; rendering with AutoCad and Photoshop

Ridge House - Photograph by Sharon Risedorph

The 3,900-sf house orchestrates the inhabitation of the landscape by navigating across the ridge in plan and section. Considerations for the variable weather inform the language of the protective, undulating, butterfly roof. All rooms open to the outdoors to reinforce the primary relationship with the ridge. A large deck and continuous exterior walkways create outdoor rooms which expand the experience of the interior and make the narrow footprint feel more spacious.

Ridge House Massing Studies

The form of the house is a riff on local agricultural (barn) and residential (ranch) typologies. Deflections in the plan, sections and elevations are modern gestures which acknowledge the site topography and relate to the rhythm of the ridge. As the building and its contiguous walkways weave up, down and around the terrain, the project defies reduction to a single image or formalist identity. The landscape deforms the house and paths where they descend the hill and intersect boulders. At the entry, the roof expands to make room for a tree and at the east deck, dissolves into a trellis at to support a wisteria vine.

Backyard - Photograph by Sharon Risedorph


  • Passive solar design
  • On-demand water heaters
  • Minimal exterior lighting (dark sky friendly)
  • Self-supporting septic system
  • Self-supplying water supply (well & spring)
  • Ample cross ventilation diminishes requirement for air-conditioning
  • Solar, PV array with battery back-up
  • Solar hot water system for pool
  • Drought tolerant and native landscaping


Pool - Photograph by Sharon Risedorph

Ridge House - Photograph by Sharon Risedorph

Ridge House - Photograph by Sharon Risedorph

Ridge House - Photograph by Sharon Risedorph

Ridge House - Photograph by Sharon Risedorph

Ridge House - Photograph by Sharon Risedorph

Ridge House - Photograph by Sharon Risedorph

Ridge House - Photograph by Sharon Risedorph

Site Plan

Related posts:

Contact Cary Bernstein Architect

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Categories: Autocad, House, Photoshop

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