The Diane Middlebrook Studios, at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, consists of four sleep/work cabins designed with sustainable features, including a freestanding, pre-engineered steel roof assembly that carries solar panels. The new structures are designed for month-long residencies by writers, poets, composers and playwrights.
The studios, arrayed under the steel canopy, are sited to maximize the spectacular setting in the rural Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean. All are aimed at the southern and western views but skewed a few degrees from each other, giving the arrangement a looseness that contrasts with the linear rigidity of the roof. Clad in unfinished, red cedar boards that will age over time, the cabins feature large, sliding glass doors and private outdoor spaces. The northeast-facing sides contain clerestory windows angled towards the surrounding ridge lines and trees. Rectangular holes in the steel canopy create patterns of sun and shadows and align with skylights in the cabins, giving each unit a window to the sky.
The cabins were designed to foster the creative process but also create a micro-community for the writers within the ranch. With visual and acoustical privacy, each has its own epic view and stand in close proximity under a unifying roof.
The 280-sf cabins are compact to minimize the impact on the land. The main area for working receives warm southern sun, an antidote to the area’s cool climate and fog; sleeping nooks are behind, away from the strong light. The architect partially donated their design services and supplied the carpet and porcelain bath tiles from samples collected in its office over the years. Materials range in color, pattern and texture and were composed in the field to create a different scheme for each unit.
Adhering to San Mateo’s Build It Green program’s “GreenPoint” Rating system, the new cabins exceed a rating of 100 points (minimum of 50 points is required).
Builder’s Choice Award, November 2012
- SF Gate, September 2011
- Frame Magazine, April 2012
- San Francisco Magazine, May 2012
- Architectural Digest, July 2012
- Financial Times; How to Spend It, September 2012