Honorable Mention: Canyon House


Honorable Mention: Canyon House

Gustave Carlson Design

The landscape and context of the site informs the buildings shape. The site is a canyon landscape with a creek, and therefore the architecture hugs the creek as close as it can get. It overlooks and spans in some architectural forms. The house takes advantage of its position on the landscape to form indoor and outdoor spaces on three levels. Public spaces were designed differently than private spaces. The public spaces are on the top floor and you descend down into the canyon creek setting of the craggy steep landscape, the lower level of earth wrapping around the architecture.

The quality of the light at certain times of day is valued and appreciated and revealed in the architectural experience. The buildings windows are specific to the site and block out views in this urban setting so that the rooms appear to be floating in a deep green landscape far away. We use borrowed edited views of the landscape the sky and the tall redwood trees beyond. By editing your views you can control the experience and maintain a clam and quiet environment.

The design intent was to form a consistent interior and exterior architectural language. The details of the design enhance the richness of the home. The home is designed with thick plaster walls, and heavy carved wood screens, doors, and panels. They speak and inform the interiors to unify the space with found object that are meaningful and beautiful to the residence and its expressed architecture. The house is designed with an interior glass bridge allowing you to enter a library loft- as you walk over and perch oneself over the creek. Surface and tactile materials contrast the dark walnut ceiling with cream limestone plaster walls, limestone floors and subtle interior fabric. The architecture is both formal and modern but cozy and comfortable in scale.

Key Team Members

Gustave Carlson, Principal Designer
Joan Kiang, Senior Associate
Daniel Tiraschi, Project Manager
Carolyn Lawrence, Interior Design
Glenn Bunting, Interior Design

About the organization

GCD is an award winning San Francisco Bay Area design firm specializing in custom home renovation, new house construction and sustainable design. Gustave Carlson, principal, has more than two decades of experience in residential and commercial design projects in the Western states and the East coast. Holding a Masters of Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, he is an associate with the American Institute of Architects, a member of National Trust for Historic Preservation, a member of Build It Green and the National Association of Remodeler’s Industry.