ISSUE 10  |  California Cool

Architect Visit: The Medieval Mist and Mystery of Big Sur

March 09, 2015 1:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

The mist and mystery of the Big Sur coastline inspires grand gestures (remember social media mogul Sean Parker’s over-the-top Game of Thrones wedding where guests reclined on fur pelts in the forest primeval?). Today we visit a cliff garden that hovers 250 feet above the crashing Pacific.

San Francisco-based architect Anne Fougeron designed a three-bedroom house with dramatic views (and the requisite walls of glass) and Marin-based landscape architect Eric Blasen surrounded it with a garden that thrives on medieval morning mist:

Photography by Joe Fletcher courtesy of Fougeron Architecture.


Above: To create the house, Fougeron designed two rectangular boxes connected by a glass-walled library. “The long, thin volume of the house conforms to the natural contours of the land and the geometries of the bluff, deforming its shape and structure in response, much like the banana slug native to the region’s seaside forest,” says Fougeron.


Above: A double-cantilevered master bedroom on the lower lever of the house has floor-to-ceiling windows and dramatic views of the ocean.


Above: A concrete retaining wall offers shelter from the wind on the patio.


Above: Roof overhangs on the east and west facades protect the windows and the front door from sun and wind.


Above: The northern exposure offers sweeping views of the ocean.


Above: The house is tucked into the cliffside 250 feet about the shoreline.


Above: Grasses and drought-tolerant evergreen trees surround the house.


Above: The house is cantilevered over the cliff.


Above: The kitchen and living areas are on the upper level of the house.


Above:  Says Fougeron, “A one-story concrete wing perpendicular to the main volume holds the ground-floor bedrooms and has a green roof; it is the boulder that locks the house to the land.”

For more of our favorite misty spots on the California coastline, see: