A Canyon Beckons
by Joe Maty
“Integrally colored concrete, combined with striking geometries and sculptured forms, produce the powerful visuals of the custom home in Tiburon, California, pictured here.
FuTung Cheng, of Cheng Design, says the steel and concrete elements are integrated with the building itself to create a palette of colors and shapes. Inspiration comes in part from the noted 20th century Italian architect Carlo Scarpa, whose designs reflected the work of artists and craftsmen.
This isn’t simply a dramatic residential entryway. It’s an invitation to experience an interpretation of natural phenomena.
“The necessity of a 50-foot vertical rise from street-side curb to front door set the design idea in our minds: reflect the experience of a small canyon hike up a narrow rock outcrop path flanked by sheer rock face walls, under the canopy of an occasional tree,” says Cheng.
“Precast, carved-out concrete steps, flanked by tall, board-formed walls lead the way up the sculptural ascension walk. Like a concrete canopy to a modern cave, the underside of the massive cantilevered second-floor deck shelters from sun and rain.”
Cheng adds: “The integrally colored walls are homages to the work of the late Italian architect, Carlo Scarpa. They are embossed with modern, petroglyph-like relief designs from molds made in our casting fabrication shop.
“The textured concrete exterior walls have resonance throughout the house interior with our proprietary, ultra-smooth, crafted concrete countertops, vanities, sinks and wall surfaces.
“The almost nature-walk feeling of moving through the spaces permeates down to the finest tactile details and everyday surfaces of the architecture.”