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  • In this retreat, a thoughtfully sited trilogy of structures—celestial observatory, spa, stone pyramid—are grounded by linear forms, including a reflecting pool, raised lap pool, and bars of olive trees. The composition floats within meadows of drought-tolerant grasses, connecting the garden to the larger Sonoma Valley landscape. The site is located within 3.5 acres on an alluvial plain, marked by several ancient California Bay trees, oaks, and buckeyes, and bordered by a seasonal stream.

    The predominantly flat, open site called for bold gestures to balance the strong forms of the buildings. A raised lap pool links the new buildings, while rowsof ancient olive trees reinforce relationships on a larger scale. Built from the native alluvial stones unearthed during construction, a 100-foot-long pyramidal sculpture anchors the new buildings in the landscape. A drought-tolerant meadow unifies the ground plane. Designed as a monolithic mass, the meadow is made of four layered grass varieties selected for their low water use. Varied seed production times highlight subtle seasonal change throughout the year. In addition, the meadow is carefully graded to perform as a wash, absorbing flood waters from the creek.
  • Photography by Marion Brenner, Vicky Sambunaris, and Emily Rylander. Images may not be used without the express written permission of the photographers.

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