Feldman Architecture designed a house for their clients who wanted a retirement shelter and a place where to receive visits from their grown-up children. Located in Santa Lucia Preserve, California, "The Butterfly House" is a 20,000-acre private development that has been found after a two-year search.
In a meeting with the architects, the clients expressed their wish to have butterflies included in their home's design and also to integrate the indoor and outdoor spaces in a modern aesthetics and separate visitor spaces.
The house is divided into three living areas that are topped by the expressive butterfly roofs. Each of the living areas has its separate function: the central pavilion houses the main living, the dining, and the cooking spaces, while two other pavilions provide the sleeping, the bathing, and the relaxing areas.
The house doesn't impress through its sizes but it expands into an outdoor room that opens up to the dramatic views of the canyon and the hills.
The butterfly roofs bring in magnificent views of the surrounding hills while expanding the main living spaces into the outdoor areas.
The water in nature, an increasingly limited resource, is celebrated in the house's design. Each roof funnels redirects the water to a rain chain fountain and into the collecting pools, which then gather in cisterns where it's stored and used to irrigate the landscape. In addition, the pavilions were specially created to allow storm water to flow under the bridge during the rainy season and drain slowly into the ground in the main courtyard.
The neutral material palette of the house includes industrial elements such as concrete floors and walls, large glass openings, plywood ceilings, and steel structure—flows from indoors to outdoors. The use of concrete and large expanses of glass acts as a sunlight heat absorbing element that is released at night. The house uses little energy as a result of extensive daylighting and efficient thermal strategies. A large solar array located out-of-sight provides much of the energy that is used.