Palo Alto 2 House

I like buildings that don’t tell the whole story on the outside. I like layered spaces that are climatically responsive — permitting a gradual progression from interior to exterior spaces — within the building and its landscape.

Located in Palo Alto, this 3,400 SF house, designed for an academic family, began as a 1,800 SF one-story craftsman bungalow built in 1899 and listed on the National Historic Register. The original house, restored and reconstructed to preserve its largely wood-surfaced simplicity, was linked to a new two-story addition with a small, central entry element. The three pieces frame a new south-facing private courtyard garden that was created by removing the rear quarter of the old house. The old house contains a study, guest rooms, a new bathroom, and a library. The new house, with bedrooms and baths over living/dining and kitchen, was conceived as a modern, light-filled reinterpretation of the simple original. Most rooms in both parts of the house now open onto porches, deck, terraces, and directly into the garden.

The project received an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Award in the 2010 AIA Santa Clara Valley Design Awards Program. View the AIASCV award submittal [PDF].

Green Features  +/-

  • Sited and shaped to maximize daylight and natural ventilation.
  • Deconstruction of existing house for salvage and reuse of all interior wood boards from floors, ceiling, and walls. Existing windows reused in remodel of old house. Existing framing lumber reused in reconstruction or donated to Palo Alto 3 house to be used for framing. Removed windows that were not used were recycled.
  • High-performance glass used in doors and windows.
  • Radiant heating tied to high-efficiency furnace.
  • Passive cooling through natural ventilation.
  • Structural concrete-mix design to have a minimum of 35% fly ash for cementitious materials. Fly ash is a waste product of coal burned to produce electricity which when added to concrete improves strength and water resistance.
  • Low-water-use fixtures throughout. Water tied to re-circulating pump.
  • All lights are either fluorescent or on dimmers.
  • Radiant barrier integrated with roof sheathing — an energy-saving strategy to block 97% of radiant heat at the roof.
  • High R-value insulation in all assemblies; formaldehyde-free batts used throughout.
  • Built-in recycling center.

Project Team  +/-

  • Builder: Young and Burton
  • Interiors: Judith Paquette with Cathy Schwabe Architecture
  • Structural Engineering: Ingraham De Jesse Engineers (Nellie Ingraham)
  • Photography: David Wakely

Publications and News  +/-