Located on the vegetative gradient between the oak savannah of the Santa Cara Valley and the redwood forests of the of the Santa Cruz mountains, the Woodside residence seamlessly nestles into its three-acre site. From its conception, the design aimed to blend into its natural surroundings and borrow the vistas of the adjacent mountains. Thus, the architecture developed as a low volume extending towards the distant summits, articulated as a main house along a main axis and a series of pavilions that nestle into the landscape.


Because of its naturally rolling topography, one of the main challenges of the project was tying in the house and accessory buildings site’s natural terrain. By way of a meticulous understanding of the site’s grades and topography, a series of carefully designed stairs, terraces, and walls are integrated to create the necessary canvas for the various requirements of the outdoor program to develop.

The property is screened from the adjacent streets and horse trails by a California native palette of woodland trees and shrubs that give way at the main gate to a modern Mediterranean planting palette, luring the residents and visitors into the front yard. Beyond the architecture, a meadow sits atop sculpted topography that exaggerates the pre-existing characteristics of the site while seamlessly blending into the rolling hills of the surrounding area. Evergreen subshrubs and blooming perennials are the core of the planting palette, while other “water-wise” plants with proven structure and habitat-creation infill the remainder of the Mediterranean palette. A winding path with a range of vantage points is woven into the diversely-planted meadow ensuring a unique experience no matter the time of year.

Other designers involved in the design of landscape: Olson Kundig Architects, Siteworks Landscape
Photo Credit: Marion Brenner
Project location: Woodside, CA
Design year: 2017
Year Built: 2018


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