Kirlin House

Location: Napa Valley. California, United States Year of construction: / 987 Architect: Mark Mack Photography: Reiner Blunck

This building is constructed around two yards with different aspects: the south side is an outside area, sheltered in the winter, while on the north side the architect has designed a cool, shady area for the summer months.

A striking feature of the main elevation is the wall, divided into two sections, that encloses and protects the house. It stands like a medieval fortress, shielding every corner of the property. In the center of the wall is a timber-roofed, rectangular entrance that gives access to the yard. The ground here is covered by tiles in tones of ocher. There is also a blue structure leading directly to the wooden door of the main entrance.

The building is mainly rectangular in form, interrupted only by the patios and openings in the thick concrete walls that accentuate the enclosed nature of the structure. This is the access area and it was designed as a place to be

enjoyed in summer: water runs through stone channels into a small pool designed by Larry Shank.

Access to the property is on the north elevation through a wooden door in this wall. The interior is designed along the same principle of simplicity as the exterior. This gives unity and continuity to the structure as a whole. The most obvious example is the use of the same flooring material in both areas. This area is divided off by a concrete block that separates it from the other areas, but again spatial continuity is preserved, in this case by the timber roof that, from within, can be seen as a defined part of the whole.

Right-hand page, bottom: View of the inner patio and the main door through the timber – roofed entrance area.

The souch elevation from three different viewpoints, showing the vines and the angled roof that protects the interior of the house from the intense rays of the summer sun.

Updated: 14th October 2014 — 6:12 am