Swallow Valley Organic Farm, Freestone
Sonoma County, California

This project represents a trend that EDC increasingly seems to be attracting: individuals, companies and institutions that focus on transforming investment capital into ecological and cultural capital to generate economic, ecologic, and community benefits for the long term.

The client bought a coastal cattle ranch with the vision of creating a diverse grass based agriculture including cows, sheep, chickens, and food crops. Instead of building a typical single family farm house, he visualized a facility that served the community through shared kitchen and eating space, a unique library, health facilities, all connected with food producing greenhouses.

The design struggled to resolve the sloping direction of hills with optimum solar orientation for summer cooling and winter heating. The equation balances removal of soil with solar orientation. The solution limits hill removal by compromising due south orientation by ten degrees.

Through close collaboration between architect, civil engineer, grading contractor and soil engineer, significant costs were removed by eliminating unneccessary enginering features.