Relating directly to nature: the Branch House in Montecito (USA)

Iserlohn, 25 April 2022

The Branch House is located in the hills of Montecito in California, in the middle of an ancient oak forest. At the behest of their art-loving clients, TOLO Architecture designed the home as a cluster of open and airy pavilions, arranged in the round and relating directly to nature.

The eight structures spread over the lot are floated off the ground. The further you advance into the property, the more private the spaces become – from public areas such as living room, dining room and kitchen, to the office, to the bedrooms and bathrooms and the separate studio. The individual volumes are connected by a glass-lined passageway that doubles as a private art gallery. It may appear random, but there is a system to it, following the path of the sun, the position of the native trees, and the required use. The different angles and shapes of the interlinked glass façades and copper-tiled roofs provide the desired perspective view of the landscape and – through the skylights – of the sky.

The interior furnishings are consciously minimal: a polished concrete floor, simple veneer surfaces and plain white walls provide a neutral background for the clients’ art collection. Blue, pink and yellow tiles set the tone in the kitchen and bathrooms. Their open, multidimensional room geometries change the ambience of the colourful surfaces, depending on the time of day and the season. Light from above is a deliberate ploy, which sets a delightful tone in the open kitchen. It falls directly onto the large kitchen island, which has two different-sized sinks integrated into the worktop. There are three Tara fittings from Dornbracht providing fresh drinking water here. An additional variant, the Tara Pot Filler, is mounted on the wall: You can use it to fill your pots with water, right next to the stove. Tara is also present in the bathrooms, its clear lines and slender, semi-circular spout demonstrating once again the versatility of the design. The balanced proportions of the fitting are the perfect complement to the Californian home. The programmatic approach through the function of the rooms and the link to the landscape, recalls the spirit of the Case Study Houses, given a modern interpretation.

Montecito / USA

TOLO Architecture


Design / Dornbracht series

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