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Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop

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Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop

Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Exterior Photography, Facade
© Mikiko Kikuyama

Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Exterior PhotographyVoid House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Exterior Photography, WindowsVoid House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Interior Photography, Kitchen, Table, ChairVoid House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Interior Photography, Table, Chair+ 45

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Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade, Garden
© Mikiko Kikuyama

Text description provided by the architects. Before Atherton, CA was a Silicon Valley boom town, lower-slung houses patterned around the landscape. Void House began when SAW encountered a house at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, settled amongst the oaks, and organized around a courtyard – all sensible arrangements. Yet there was something sort of odd happening here, a sort of top-heaviness, that was evidenced by a facade that was seemingly all roof. On the interior, it turns out this was almost all attic – largely inaccessible, and highly inefficient.

Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Exterior Photography
© Mikiko Kikuyama
Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Exterior Photography, Facade, Garden
© Mikiko Kikuyama

SAW’s strategy was to carve away – subtracting from the solid mass wherever possible and discovering opportunities to re-inhabit the voids. Double negatives become connections – binding unusual program arrangements – the skylight is a window in the closet, for instance, which becomes a light monitor to the entry, blurring the lines between the most public and private spaces in the house. It turns out this house already had enough – it just required figuring out what to subtract.

Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Interior Photography, Table, Chair
© Mikiko Kikuyama

Rather than follow the conventional real estate wisdom to tear down the aging house and replace it with a larger estate, SAW worked with the clients to expand into the unused spaces of the existing structure, conserving resources by preserving the foundation, structure, and additional materials, while reducing the overall footprint of the house. The aforementioned voids are carved tactically to create sources of natural light deep into the building, reducing the need for artificial lighting, providing connections to views, and inducing airflow, promoting passive ventilation and heat exchange.

Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Interior Photography, Living Room, Sofa, Table, Chair
© Mikiko Kikuyama
Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Interior Photography, Living Room, Sofa
© Mikiko Kikuyama
Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Image 43 of 45
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As both Landscape Architects and Architects, SAW strives to establish symbiosis between buildings and landscapes. The firm reduced the footprint of the primary residence and introduced drought-tolerant native plantings to grow alongside the mature tree groves. Interior spaces are organized around the connection to landscapes, ensuring the primacy of the ecosystem in the organization and experience of the house in daily life.

Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Interior Photography, Kitchen, Table, Chair
© Mikiko Kikuyama
Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Interior Photography, Table, Chair, Windows, Beam
© Mikiko Kikuyama
Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Interior Photography, Kitchen, Countertop
© Mikiko Kikuyama

Over time, the balance changes, the plants grow, and the structures recede, expanding connections to place and context over time. All existing trees and significant planting were preserved, and complemented with additional plantings. The drought-tolerant landscape design creates connections to the outdoors for views, movement, and play.

Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Exterior Photography
© Mikiko Kikuyama

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Cite: “Void House / SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop” 09 Aug 2022. ArchDaily. Accessed .

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