PALO ALTO, CA
California-based square three design studios creates single-family homes that blend contemporary, non-traditional architecture with warm, livable comfort. The architects, Carl Hesse and Tom Carrubba, consider scale, proportion, natural lighting and finish materials to achieve these goals.
Most of square three’s clients request contemporary-style projects, often influenced by greener living. The Fulton project reflects these sentiments — perhaps even more boldly than their other projects, with forms such as canted exterior walls and roofing.
“ THE DESIGN PROCESS [WAS] MORE LIKE SHAPING A SCULPTURE THAN BUILDING A HOUSE.”
The small corner-lot property presented a challenge with its tight floor area, height restrictions and daylight planes — confining the three-dimensional building-envelope boundary. Pushed up against every constraint posed by city ordinances, square three worked carefully to meet the clients’ needs for an open plan for the living spaces and four aboveground bedrooms. This allowed them to study and analyze options and opportunities, making the design process more like shaping a sculpture than building a house.
Just when square three thought they overcame all area restrictions, the firm faced the biggest challenge despite being well into the construction document phase. After the house was designed, approved by the city and in construction preparation, the owners announced they were having another child and needed an additional bedroom upstairs. square three immediately halted development and set into emergency redesign mode to carve out another bedroom on the second floor.
The total floor area was already maxed out, so square three couldn’t add additional space. Instead, they reconfigured the floor area that had already been designed. The sculptural nature of the home required a lot of rearticulating to the exterior to accommodate the changes. The firm overcame these challenges, and Northwall Builders, Inc. did a remarkable job of bringing the firm’s vision of contemporary comfort to life.
According to square three, integrating warm materials with the sleek minimalist detailing of a modern home is a key to comfortable design. In the Fulton project, warmth was achieved by the use of Douglas Fir Loewen windows that were clear-coated to preserve the natural wood aesthetic. The Douglas Fir influenced warmth throughout the rest of the design, including fir ceilings and fir soffits. Painted fiber cement siding complemented the exterior stucco, and cedar siding was integrated into the sculpting of the exterior elevations. The architects at square three often work directly with Loewen representatives to solve their window challenges and accomplish new looks with openings. The warm comfort of Loewen’s Douglas Fir and natural light openings complement the sculpted contemporary look of the Fulton house. With Loewen’s help, square three was able to continue their legacy of modernized suburbia and fulfill their vision from within.
LOEWEN PRODUCT USED
The Fulton project features a four-panel LiftSlide door that pockets into the wall making it completely minimized from view. The door glides easily on almost unnoticeable, stainless steel tracks. With the touch of a hand, the LiftSlide mechanism effortlessly carries glass panels weighing up to 850 pounds.
• 6063 T5 aircraft grade aluminum extrusions
• Fiberglass frame and thermally broken panels for optimal energy efficiency
• Corrosion resistant track with optional transverse drains
• Optional retractable screen system
• Available with Heat Smart® Dual and Triple Glazing
• Standard track protrudes 3/16” above the finished floor so your interiors and exterior finishes flow seamlessly.
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