Los Altos Hills Residence

A young family of four asked Van der Ryn Architects to design an inviting, comfortable home which integrates natural materials and technologies. Some of the design strategies include: straw bale walls, infloor radiant heating, fly-ash cement, a structural insulated panel roof, a minimum of interior wood trim, recycled cellulose insulation and Owner salvaged wood used for cabinetry and interior doors.

Dramatically sited on three acres overlooking the Los Altos Hills, this new residence wraps around the sun for optimum solar performance and views of the San Francisco Bay and local hills.

Owners, friends and architects alike participated in straw bale raising efforts at the Los Altos Hills residence. Here the owners undertake the placing of a straw bale. Throughout the community venture, much was learned as well as accomplished as walls were raised one bale at a time. Ultimately covered with plaster and stucco, the thick straw bale walls provide a high insulation value (R-30) and a feeling of permanence.