Project Description & Narrative
American architect Brett Farrow has used cedar cladding for a residential rowhome development that that overlooks an ecological reserve in coastal Southern California.
The project, named Laguna Row, is comprised of 13 detached rowhomes that are arranged around a central linear auto court with the buildings set on angle in order to optimize privacy, sunlight and views. The 3 story rowhomes consist of 5 distinct floor plans with variations in each unit’s window patterns. All of the homes include large operable 10’ tall sliding doors that open onto redwood decks which extend the interior spaces to the outdoors. High ceilings and intentionally placed operable windows bring bright natural light and sea breezes into the homes with little to no need for heating or cooling.
The site is located on the southerly edge of the Buena Vista Lagoon Ecological Reserve and the northern edge of Carlsbad Village. This site presented a unique opportunity to offer a private life facing onto nature while also offering a very public, urban lifestyle with restaurants, mass transit and the beach all within walking distance.
The architecture draws upon the site setting and references classic California Coastal Modern. “Upon visiting the site the first impression was the surprise of the open space and vital natural beauty of the lagoon. Instantly I felt transported to another place and time which reminded me more of Central California’s coast than urban Southern California. Additionally, the local zoning required 5:12 sloped roofs in order to encourage traditional gable roof forms but when combined and juxtaposed with this remarkable natural setting my first thought was of Sea Ranch in Sonoma County.” The result is a series of chiseled geometries clad in western red cedar and turned angles, both vertically and on the ground plane, which creates a series of unexpected spaces and dramatic, crisp shadow lines.
The original site consisted of a medical office building, single family residence and parking lot. The new redevelopment in-fill project reduced impervious surfaces allowing stormwater to naturally filter back into the water table. The project’s site layout also resulted in the creation of more open space that included natural habitat restoration.
Multiple sustainable strategies were used throughout the design and construction process. Cedar siding was selected for its renewable, carbon capture and natural beauty.
The project also includes individual solar systems, stormwater treatments in the auto court and drought tolerant/native plantings throughout the landscaping. Lastly the homes are all electric, no fossil fuels used for any appliances.
As an architect/developer/builder project the key decisions regarding the design and environmental goals were able to be realized in a way that is not typical in most real estate developments. This control of the process and the economic priorities was critical in creating housing that reflects its time and place.
LocationCarlsbad, California - United States of America