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Amnesia House


Napa, California

A material clarity underpins the Amnesia House, designed as an explicit partner of and counterpoint to the same clients’ Remember House in San Francisco. The richness of the proposed deeply-grained grayish wood siding brings a rural style to the crisply modernist shape; a main house, its simple gabled roof a nod to the local vernacular, sleeps the immediate family + grandparents, while two visitors’ cottages nestle into the same scrubbed landscape. Windows are at once long swaths of open space for light and minimal punctuation points; the house’s siting on ten acres of is one of simultaneous promontory and restoration. The double bar plan of the house is at once modern and ancient, stylized and iconic; the two forms slide against each other, producing a sense of both tension and calm. Public and private spaces become interlaced; a living room is adjacent to a sitting room flows into a central hinge that leads, in turn, to more sitting rooms, a kitchen, a dining room, bedrooms. From inside, the material palette - pale white, restrained wood, clear glass - delineates marks in the landscape, beginning to open up the view in a mode both controlled and expansive. The project exists at the interstice between an idealized memory and the brand-new.

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