The Contextural Contortionist: What if a home could realize great potential views and enhance its oceanside suburban context? Fully utilizing the site, the main living areas sits on the top 3rd floor with panoramic Pacific Ocean views looking south and west. The bedrooms sit on the 2nd floor and the service areas like garage and laundry bury into the ground floor.

Project Name: Skyline Residence
Studio Name: Shubin Donaldson
Project size: 2600 ft2
Completion date: 2016
Building levels: 3
Location: Santa Barbara, United States
Photography: Jeremy Bittermann

Skyline Residence by Shubin Donaldson - Sheet1
Exterior View ©Jeremy Bittermann

The main challenge was to “wedge” this home into a narrow complex shape of constraints and opportunities provided by the hillside site, zoning requirements and neighborhood context.

These constraints resulted in a unique formal solution deploying a concrete and steel structural frame to maximize the formal responsiveness of the structure.

Skyline Residence by Shubin Donaldson - Sheet2
View of kitchen ©Jeremy Bittermann

Due to the complexity of the form, the material palette for the home was limited to wood, cast concrete, steel and glass. The house has a central stair that cuts up through the home with a skylight above that allows daylight to penetrate the home and light it from within.

Environmentally, the home is cooled passively by ocean breezes, lit evenly during the day by daylight, and Ipe wood screens minimize sun load on the extensive view windows.

Skyline Residence by Shubin Donaldson - Sheet3
Outdoor Seating ©Jeremy Bittermann

The benign climate encourages an indoor-outdoor living style and the home flows onto strategically placed outdoor patios for outdoor living. Every square foot of this small site is used as living area, whether indoors or out.

The client, an industrial designer with a young family, desired a thorough design process and a carefully detailed design. He came to SD knowing that our design values were in sync and this stunning home is the result of a very productive and satisfying client/architect relationship.


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