Copper-clad Fall House goes green ... literally
May 4, 2014
San-Francisco-based Fougeron Architecture recently completed an unusual – and frankly very appealing – luxury home that's located along California's Big Sur coastline. Dubbed Fall House, the residence in question features a significant amount of sustainable technology and an enviable view of the Pacific Ocean, but the highlight is a roof and facade made from copper, which will slowly weather as it comes into contact with the sea air.
The two-storey Fall House measures a total of 353 sq m (3,800 sq ft). This includes three bedrooms, a bathroom, and an open plan lounge, kitchen, and dining room. The overall form of the house comprises two rectangular volumes which follow the sloping ground closely, and are joined together by a large glass library in the middle.
Naturally, the copper facade grabs one's attention, but Fall House actually sports two facades. The south-facing facade, which comes into contact with the brunt of the Pacific Ocean's wind and water spray, is indeed clad in copper, and it sports overhangs which offer protection from the weather and limit the effects of solar heat gain. The north-facing facade, meanwhile, is wholly glass and maximizes the available view.
Though not unheard of, the use of so much copper is relatively unusual on a modern build. Fougeron Architecture tells us that the choice of copper derives both from its general durability, and the fact that it is non-combustable (the house is located in a severe fire zone). That the copper will weather and enable the house to blend into its surroundings even more fully as it ages doesn't hurt, either.
Efficient "Low-E" windows were installed in the house, as was underfloor radiant hydronic heating and formaldehyde-free denim – a non-harmful insulation material. Fall House's largely open design encourages stack ventilation, but this process is enhanced thanks to automatically opening windows which draw in cool air from the lower levels of the home. The opening windows work in tandem with an exhaust transfer grille toward the top of the home which expels the hot air that's drawn up.
Fougeron Architecture also added drought-resistant native vegetation to reduce soil erosion and aid local wildlife, and a small section of green roof benefits insulation. The house sports a greywater system, and there's also a handy nearby stream that complements the on-grid supply of water.