Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
Cliff House in Lake Tahoe by MARK DZIEWULSKI ARCHITECT
October 3rd, 2013 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: MARK DZIEWULSKI ARCHITECT
The site is a dramatically steep slope with steps leading down to theshoreofLake Tahoe, one hundred and fifty feet below. It has sweeping panoramic views of the entire lake and mountains beyond. Entry from the road is from the top of the slope and zoning required the house to be below this level.
The owner wanted a year-round house that took full advantage of the dramatic site and views. It had to be suitable for entertaining large groups but had also to provide intimacy for the private areas: the master suite and guest bedrooms. Cantilevered floors were needed to maintain the ground coverage limitations. Due to the slope and setbacks the house was organized vertically on five levels.
The house provides a tranquil environment from which to enjoy the lake and experience the magnificent display of nature. The main mass is largely concealed from the street and its fragmented form, cut deep into the steep slope, reflects the geometry of rocky terrain around.
The main view of the house from the road is of the entrance and roofs below. In effect, the roof forms themselves become the main façade element on this side. They express the volumes of the rooms below and are designed as series of layered sculptural curves. They are fanned out towards the lake and create a kind of man-made rolling landscape that underlines the view of the lake and mountains beyond.
The principle ordering element of the house is the strong form of the stair tower which descends from this level through the entire house. The main spaces are all anchored off this element — their forms reflecting their individual needs, orientation and view. The layout of the house is clearly readable in its main levels: arrival, entertainment, master suite and guest floor.
Since the stair is the main circulation for such a vertical house it was designed to frame a narrow foretaste of the view and to provide a dramatic journey to the main level, where the full glory of the view is exposed. The treads are glass and clear span between the walls and a single helical stringer, creating a floating sculptural form.
The circular glass elevator frames the constantly changing views through to the lake as one descends. The main entertainment level has its different functions expressed as distinct volumes which are angled to optimize their individual orientation. This also finds expression in the façade. The master bedroom has its own cantilevered form and is angled to look down the lake towards the mountains.
The main floors overlook the lake with an expanse of glass, which is shaded with large overhangs and angled forwards to reduce sun reflection back to the lake. The forms are fragmented in response to the rocky context of the hillside and to create deep shadows and minimize flat expanses. The finish materials are dark and non-reflective. All of these measures were very important to protect the views back from the lake. In scenic analysis tests the house blends in and almost become part of the rocky hillside.
In essence the house is a sculpture nestling into the cliff face and looking out to the lake.
The steep site, 150 ft. aboveLake Tahoe, overlooks one of the most dramatic views in the region. Five cantilevered levels, following the slope, individually express the various uses to take best advantage of the views and the natural context. The composition of overlapping sculptural roofs is anchored with a vertical stair tower.
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