Axis_House_Hero@2x-Rendering of front and side facade


Design Challenge

How did the architects create a highly customized ground-up home with a modern aesthetic without paying a premium price?

Design Solution

The architects took this project on with two goals in mind: minimize the impact on the site by having as light a footprint as possible, and maximize the efficiency of material use thereby reducing cost and increasing speed and ease of construction. In order to meet these goals, they took a unique approach. As opposed to the traditional method of designing and then determining construction logistics, the architects first decided how they wanted to construct the residence and then created a design which supported the desired technique. The result was inspiring.In lieu of excessive grading and site work, the architects carved the space for the ground floor into the existing hillside and supported the cavity with a concrete retaining wall. Constructed out of SIPs [Structurally Insulated Panels] clad with a building envelope, the second floor and garage sit on top of the retained earth and dramatically cantilever over the sloping hill. The SIPs panels reduce the heat load on the house, increasing its energy efficiency. Additionally, their high durability also serves to protect the house from the elements and resist the effects of wildfire, an extremely important factor in this rural setting. Born out of this approach is a beautifully modern and cost-effective design that is highly efficient and responds to the site conditions.

Axis House-2-Early concept hand sketch
Axis House Composite copy

Project Data

3.07 acres
3,000 sf
Santa Barbara, CA
Clay Aurell
Josh Blumer
Clay Aurell, AIA | Josh Blumer, AIA
Axis House-3-Rendering of front elevation
Axis House-4-Exploded rendering of materials used on both levels
Axis House-5-Rendering of side facade with deck from above
Axis House-6-Rendering of side facade with deck from ground level
Axis House-8-Rendering of side facade showing carport
Axis House-10-Birds Eye View Rendering showing carport and deck
Axis House-9-Rendering of back and side facade showing carport
Axis house-11-Rendering of front and side facade from ground level