Toro Canyon House
- location:Santa Barbara County
- Photography:Laure Joliet, John Ellis
There is a dramatic and winding approach up through the landscape that keeps the compound hidden until the last moment. The site strategy is one of slow revelation and discovery of the house and- ultimately- the view. The road, which had to be built for access, brings the visitor to a point below the house- where a formal stair leads up to the entry sequence. The front door frames and reveals views of the Santa Barbara coastline through the courtyard. A 40’ wide horizontal ‘panavison’-esque opening gives the house a pavilion-like atmosphere. The dwelling is organized around three courtyards; the primary one at the heart of the house also serves as the front entrance and outdoor living room. The courtyards have a dual purpose: they bring in ample natural light and ventilation but also provide protection from the strong winds that can race across the mountain.
A pool house that is nestled into the hill has a custom solar shade structure whose digitally created pattern is designed to maximize shade as the sun reaches its high points.