Honorable Mention: Lichen House
Schwartz and Architecture
The Lichen House nestles within the fog and oaks in the hills above California’s Sonoma Valley. The free-ranging branches of the site’s mature oak trees support lacey veils of draping Ramalina Lichen that filter sunlight, capture moisture and nutrients for their hosts, and remove pollutants from the air through photosynthesis. Taking inspiration from the way lichen freely seeks out its most advantageous micro-climates, the Lichen House’s ends pull toward long expansive views with the freedom to precisely dial in orientation to focal points in the landscape. Each room is then carefully tuned to its own spatial ‘microclimate’ considering privacy, views, solar orientation, quality of light, and air flow. The roof’s southern edges are filled with a series of undulating metal fins, which are both a formal reference to the surrounding lichen’s geometry as well as a spatial reference recreating the filtered dappled light of the lichen’s net.