We visit the round house of Feldman Architecture


The California Round House is nestled in the hills of Palo Alto

Feldman Architecture unveils redesign of classic 1960s round house, circular house surrounded by foliage in Palo Alto, California

Perched idyllically on a leafy slope in Palo Alto, California, Round House is a 1960s family home that was recently redesigned by San Francisco studio Feldman Architecture. As the name suggests, this is a circular house – but one that doesn’t feel harsh and parachuted into its leafy surroundings; its soft curves and wooden cladding make it rather a pleasant addition to its green, undeveloped hilly backdrop. At the same time, the design effortlessly extends to the landscape, bringing the views at every turn.

“The round house, which bears its name aptly, is a geometrically unique structure; one of the few similarly shaped homes built in California in the 1960s, ”the architects say. “Customers fell in love with this quirky circular house and initially planned a modest renovation. Shortly after moving in, the couple recognized the inefficiencies of their new home – low window eaves oddly obstructing the otherwise spectacular views, spurring their desire to open up and modernize the design. Our team set out to create an enrichment respectful of the original form of the house, focusing on a site-sensitive response to the steep and difficult plot.

The transformation included closing an original open-air central courtyard into a distinctive circular kitchen – a centerpiece of the new design – as the client is a family of food lovers. A skylight above the round kitchen island lets daylight flood the space.

Around this both clean and figurative heart of the house, all the other rooms unfold – from an open-plan living space that extends onto a large terrace for alfresco dining, to the four en-suite bedrooms. private Round House. A wooden walkway cantilevered over mature trees surrounds the house, connecting the various rooms to the exterior and providing long views, including some of the south bay beyond the town.

While the house is fit for the 21st century and contains all modern comforts, the architects opted for a fairly clean and minimalist architectural aesthetic of light tones in a restricted palette of colors and materials. Clean white walls inside are matched with darker woodwork and Japanese-style charred shou sugi ban wood exterior cladding. Due to the geometry of the Round House, many things that would normally have been standard products required a bespoke approach. But it was an exciting challenge, explain the architects: “Most conventional solutions favor straight geometry, which allowed for a refreshing intervention that is an honest response to the constraints of this unique project. §


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