Frame House

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Frame House

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A concrete framework establishes the structure and rhythm of Frame House, a residence in the Sonoma countryside. Rooted on a hillside above a forested canyon and vineyards, this structural grid maximizes the connection between the inside and out, allowing for natural light and direct access to the exterior from every room. The loggia, which wraps three sides of the house’s perimeter, shades living spaces and provides access to expansive views from the second level decks. The house is designed to confront the “new normal” reality of climate-change fueled wildfires in California. The property was ravaged by the Nuns Wildfire in 2017 and after the previous home suffered damage, the new home was to be armored with fire resistant materials. Concrete columns, shear walls, soffits, and metal clad windows are softened by the addition of wood clad panels which are added as a superficial and sacrificial layer. Additionally, a solar field powers back up batteries for generators intended to power a fire suppression sprinkler system in the event of wild-fire. The slim volume is optimized for the Sonoma climate through its design and placement on site. Its proportions maximize the connection between the inside and out, allowing for natural light, ventilation, and direct access to outside from almost every room in the house. A second story loggia wraps the east, south, and west facades providing shelter from the intense solar exposure of the summer months. The loggia’s deep overhangs create shaded zones around the perimeter of the house from which to appreciate the views at grade and the upper deck. The building materials have been chosen for their organic, rustic appearance and tactile qualities. In light of the recent fires, the owners wanted to focus on non-combustible construction for their new home. A board-formed, grey concrete framework establishes the structure and rhythm of the house. Concrete shear walls clad in a sacrificial layer of greying wood siding are placed between columns, defining separate spaces on the interior of the house.


Alicia Hergenroeder, Casper Mork-Ulnes, Robert Scott, Lexie Mork-Ulnes, Kyle Anderson, Phi Van Phan


Renderings by Mork-Ulnes Architects, Photos by Bruce Damonte


Under Construction, Completion 2021.