2020 Sustainable Design Award: Studio SchicketanzAuthor:Lindsey Shook
On a seven-acre parcel in Carmel Valley featuring an open meadow with a gentle slope, Mary Ann Schicketanz of Studio Schicketanz conjured a net-zero home for a couple of semiretired educators. The architecture is at once modern and rustic—drawing on the local vernacular with elements typical of barns, including board and batten cedar siding as well as an aluminum roof. A deep porch is lined by glass sliders that help regulate the western wind: open the doors during warmer days to enjoy the breeze, close them when it’s cold.
“To design the house so it doesn’t need air-conditioning,” the architect explains, “we needed to shade ourselves from the southern sun and have really good cross-ventilation.” Along with ample shade, insulation was also paramount in creating a sustainable dwelling. In this case, spray-in insulation in the walls and roof help make the home highly efficient.
The clients desired seamless indoor-outdoor living that was low- maintenance, too. Hence, Schicketanz selected durable concrete flooring, which looks like stone, for the main living areas and adjacent porch. The structural wood is Douglas fir, while the ceiling is comprised of reclaimed barn wood. The initial design called for the installation of solar panels atop the roof of the guest wing. Following the completion of the project, the homeowners acquired two electric vehicles, which in part prompted ground- mounted solar panels to generate additional energy.
Although the residence is more traditional than the contemporary creations that populate Studio Schicketanz’s portfolio, it presented the same challenge as every undertaking by the firm: “We want to do justice to the land, we want to do justice to the client and we want to do justice to our own architectural ambition,” says Schicketanz. “When these three things come together, it’s a good project.” – Anh-Minh Le