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Saw-Roofed House with Circular Layout is All About Symmetry

This multi-peaked roof is Sonoma, California has piqued our interest, so to speak! The unusual house by architect William O’Brien Jr. features a symmetrical saw-toothed roof faced in rustic-style wood shingles vaguely reminiscent of traditional homes – but that’s about the only “traditional” thing about this modern design. From its nine points to its glass walls and circular interior layout, the house is thoroughly contemporary and innovative, inside and out. The design speaks not only to the creativity of the architects but the clients as well – a sculptor and a media artist, who’s desire for originality and need for inspiring studio space were delivered beautifully. Inside, the design maximizes natural light via glass walls, outdoor terraces and a series of skylights overhead.

The floor-to-ceiling glass walls work two-fold – bringing the outdoors in, while illuminating the outdoor living areas from the inside out.
With the lights turned off, the house all but disappears into the backdrop of trees and plant life. A clandestine entrance off the deck blends in with the glass walls and opens to the dual studio spaces inside.
From the architects, “The primary order of symmetry, as is evidenced from the exterior by the profile of the roofline, is challenged on the interior by particular motivations related to the domestic program. These motivations – the desire for natural light from a skylight in the opposing direction to the series of large skylights, for example – foster several, local secondary orders of symmetry.”
Past the glass, interiors are cool and warm all at once, boasting a tiled floor of various browns, complemented by walls of wood bookshelves enclosing living and dining areas. It’s in stark contrast to the clean white walls and kitchen occupying the opposite wall.
The studio spaces are connected by the home’s circular floor plan.
Topping the double-height deep-set space, the peaked roofline zigzags across the home with solid ceiling and skylights, flooding the spaces below with natural light.
Each roof peak is underscored by a window, adding visual interest and even more light to the studio spaces below.
“The studio spaces are planometrically mirrored about an east-west axis in order to facilitate distinct, natural lighting conditions for each studio under a series of eight skylights. This arrangement provides diffuse, northern light in the south-facing studio, and bands of direct light in the north-facing studio. Although the studio spaces remain connected both spatially and by way of a shared gallery wall, the main living and dining area separate them.”
The upper level is essentially an open walkway leading around en opening to the main living space below.
The void allows for an open dialogue between the upper and lower levels, and an abundance of light from overhead.
This minimally decorated space features a simple sitting area and large globe lights suspended from the ceiling, letting the architectural details shine. The interior windows, the opening to below, and the meandering ceiling overhead are all the adornment this space really needs.
And then there’s the view…
In contrast to the open glass facade, this exterior wall is dressed in wood shingles that lend privacy to interiors.
The crown of the home (literally and figuratively!) is its roofline – striking and functional.
William O’Brien Jr.


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