The Shadywood Residence site lies entirely within a floodplain along an active creek. In order to make the site habitable and minimize the impact on the land, the house was designed to rest on a concrete plinth above floodplain elevation. The challenge was to visually and spatially integrate the elevated portion with the rest of the site.
The native floodplain surrounds a more formal zone for the new residence. A discreet gated entry, serpentine gravel drive, open motor court, rear pool and associated terraces, and play lawn encompass the family compound. A “floating” wooden staircase suspended from the concrete plinth wall connects the elevated gardens and home with the lower creekside play spaces.
The design for this residence creates an experience of screen and reveal, shade and exposure. The material palette is spare – concrete, lueders limestone, IPE wood, gravel, and plantings – and used to structure the landscape experience. Limestone was chosen for its ability to blend with the larger context and provide a rich visual interest. The wood used for the steps mimics the surrounding trees and reflects the work of the human hand. The gravel offers a clean uniformity, texture and auditory qualities. The plantings are used as elements to support spatial structure. They provide color, texture, and fragrance for the garden spaces. The bold massings and organic quality shape a dialect with the harder materials.
Overall, the design provides a balance of rustication and trimness, a discreet use of materials, and a careful composition of wild and cultivated.