Last week Bob Pennypacker and I toured the 216 acres comprising the Petersen Ranch on the north edge of
The ranch has recently come up for sale and includes a number of very special
home sites (http://bobpennypacker.com/9255DryCreek/).
In many ways it is very similar to my own acreage in that it is a combination
of oak and Douglas fir forested ridges, deep canyons, vineyards, and a common
border with the lands surrounding Dry
Creek Valley . Lake
The variety of conifer and deciduous trees, high and low elevations, and steep and gradual slopes epitomizes much of what I love about the
landscape. I have always had deeply
ingrained feelings for the land and it is natural for me to be respectful of it
with every architectural decision our studio makes. It is a shame that so many of us see the landscape as little more than a large
placemat upon which to set their building – this kind of thinking falls short
of the ultimate opportunity – to form an adaptive partnership with the
landscape and almost certainly increase the potential for a memorable
The key here is the ability to read the landscape – as far as the eye can see – and to have both the insight and skill to respond accordingly. Perhaps the worst approach is to compromise the quality of the setting by placing the building directly on the sweet spot. Often, a better approach is to set the building to the side or only partially on the sweet spot and thereby achieve a cohesive of partnership. This approach usually opens many opportunities for developing unique, site specific responses, and when one succeeds at this high level the resulting resonance is truly artful.