Abstract Beauty of Concrete House, Piedmont, California
A Concrete House does not sound like an inviting residence, but the Ogrydziak and Prillinger Architects redesign of a 1974 California home proves quite the contrary. The 7,000 square foot home is at once ultra-minimal and warm, mind-warping and simple, fluid and reliable. It is located in the superb natural setting of Piedmont, California, with its vast evergreen expanses of forest. Its interiors are brutally honest, so to speak, as all materials are exposed, be it the brick on the walls and support beams or the concrete of the dome-like ceilings. The furniture is minimalist for the most part, with several stand-out pieces, such as the stainless steel wire skeletal dining chairs. The space is profusely dynamic, as characterized by the presence of several wooden stepladders leading up, leading down, leading all around. Yet another unique design element is the presence of perfect circles, such as the spot-lit skylight in the dining area and the recessed tub in the master bathroom.
Initially, this cast-concrete and brick house was designed for a couple, who wanted fluidity, ample open spaces and interiors which freely communicated with one another. The Ogrydziak Prillinger remodel turned it into a home fit for a family, while preserving its defining traits – the organization of spaces around the central courtyard with the pool, the exposed materials and lots of visual openness. To this end, they reconfigured the living spaces, kitchen and bath, so as to maximize the use of space, added sliding glass doors to the living room, which now seems to expand into the pool and added oversized folding doors to the kitchen, which can now be enclosed or opened up. Three new bedrooms were added to the house – personalized, intimate spaces, characterized by functionality and clever design solutions.