Topanga Architecture & Design
We enjoy the process of designing for our client’s usage and pleasure while educating them on the myriad of options available. We show you why some unique design features can elevate a project from common place to inspiring. As you can imagine we enjoy architecture and interior design and want it to be special for you, your family and friends. We strive to design the best product while staying within your design and budget goals.
Click on photos on the right for a slideshow of this home.
This house had the goals of being fireproof, low maintenance, utilizing natural air flow and solar angles to minimize the use of heating and air conditioning. Due to the excellent views room layouts and window placements were designed to take advantage of these assets.
The roof overhangs were sized so that in the summer when the sun is high, no sun comes into the windows during the middle of the day, but in the winter the sun low in the sky comes in to heat up the concrete floors and keep the house comfortable.
The heavy construction acts as a heat sink. If we let it cool off at night it helps things stay cool all day. If we let it warm up during the day, it can stay warm all night.
The upper clerestory windows are facing generally north to let in diffuse light but avoid direct glare and heat buildup from the sun. They also can be opened to allow the rising heat to escape and keep the house cool. We rarely need to run the heater or air conditioning.
The exterior concrete blocks are dual celled with foamed in place insulation. While the company that provided us with these blocks is no longer in business, we have found other companies providing similar products. They are fire proof, provide a decorative finish exterior face, have insulation, strong concrete and steel core strength, and a decorative interior face. They have been laid out in a designed pattern of different colors and finishes to add texture and scale to the house.
The other exterior material is a cementitious Hardie Board that is both impervious to fire, and requires painting about one-tenth as frequently as wood.
The layout was designed to have a pleasing flow, and a defined front entry. As you approach the house there is no question of the entry location, your approach is comfortable. With a semi-circular driveway, there is an easy flow of cars, plenty of parking and simple exiting.
How We Approach Architectural Design
- We always consider the natural environment, site and orientation to make a space comfortable.
- Maximize air flow and natural cooling elements to minimize or eliminate the need for air conditioning.
- Use of shade elements and weather protection with overhangs and shade screens.
- Use of durable materials for low maintenance and lower life cycle costs
- Non-toxic environments are our priority
- Our preference is to use recycled and sustainable materials
- All design and construction choices are maximized to reduce energy costs
- Focus on naturalized and sustainable landscaping
- Solar materials incorporated into the design
- Water collection and greywater systems
- Focus on healthy, natural sun-lighting to minimize energy costs