fougeron architecture builds the fall house next to the pacific ocean fougeron architecture builds the fall house next to the pacific ocean
apr 27, 2014

fougeron architecture builds the fall house next to the pacific ocean

‘fall house’ by fougeron architecture, big sur, california, united states
image © joe fletcher
all images courtesy of fougeron architecture



 ‘I placed a jar in tennessee,
and round it was, upon a hill.
it made the slovenly wilderness
surround that hill.

the wilderness rose up to it,
and sprawled around, no longer wild.
the jar was round upon the ground
and tall and of a port in air.

it took dominion every where.
the jar was gray and bare.
it did not give of bird or bush,
like nothing else in tennessee.’

—wallace stevens, ‘anecdote of the jar’



in a scarcely known, typically overcrowded, yet mystical area of the california coast along big sur, san francisco-based studio fougeron architecture has completed a single family residence on an almost impossible sloped site butting up against the pacific ocean. the fall house possesses all the expected trappings of a typical residence: three bedrooms, kitchen, dining, living and office areas- organized within a linear transparent construction broken up in section next to a 250-foot drop to the almost non-existent beach below. what seems like an ordinary structure from the images provided proves to be a rather complex and unexpected form. half of the house is cantilevered due to the challenging properties of the site, but also in an effort to preserve the beautifully harsh environment.



entrance and upper terrace
image © joe fletcher




two solid volumes are connected by a transparent library/den, stepping down in a series of tiers, so that from the top of the structure one can see clear down to the lowest level in an unobstructed space. apart from the visual vibrancy of the scheme, the organization also offers natural ventilation. employing a heat stack effect, automated shutters constantly filter hot air out of the upper-most volume, therefore sucking in colder air from the lower areas.



image © joe fletcher



a concrete wing grounded onto the side of the slope contains a guest room, service functions, and a green roof, almost anchoring the flying structure. the various volumes are also rendered in very different materials: the southern form clad in copper to protect the interior spaces from direct sunlight, while the northern is left in a vulnerable glass extending unparalleled views.


living area
image © joe fletcher

image © joe fletcher

images © joe fletcher

central library clad in glass panels
images © joe fletcher

images © joe fletcher

image © joe fletcher

image © joe fletcher

kitchen and dining area
image © joe fletcher

images © joe fletcher

exterior porch
image © joe fletcher

in context
image © joe fletcher

image © joe fletcher

image © joe fletcher

image © joe fletcher

image © joe fletcher



  • Wooowww!

    Barbara Maragni says:
  • This house pays hommage to its site. This apart, it’s just brilliant.

    Coursaget says:
  • No doubt a beautiful work of architecture. It raises an interesting and important question though about building in pristine environments. Though it’s clear great thought was put into siting this structure, the Wallace Stevens poem almost seems intended to justify plopping our man-made creations in these pristine locales– that somehow it gives these places a greater “context”. I don’t want to pretend to have an answer, but it seems a question worth asking… continually.

    Steven says:
  • Damn! That is a beautiful house, perfectly imagined in its setting….

    Peta Becker says:
  • Thats an amazing project! Definitely will keep it in mind! 😉

    Alentejo Surf Camp says:
  • I want it ! 😀

    Susi Kristianti says:
  • Inspiring. I think that’s what’s important when you design something.

    Mine says:
  • What about privacy?

    G G says:
  • Every concept seems remarkable , just one question , what about privacy ? I mean the inhabitants will at one point feel the need of a closed environment , what then ?

    Shubham says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news