HOUSE 6 : CONCRETE HOUSE #6, MENLO PARK CA
The sixth custom home designed by Fu-Tung Cheng, House 6 is a monolith of human proportion and warm, natural materials. The house is a place of refuge and repose, one that warmly envelopes its inhabitants and guests—the home’s 12-inch concrete walls providing a sense of safety and security.
At first glance, the two-story house reads as a modern fortress, but upon closer inspection this “fortress” is surrounded by a lush, colorful garden that mounds up to embrace the exterior walls making it seem as if the structure is rising from the earth. Spontaneous color and texture placed by hand within the concrete walls make the home warm and approachable. The entry canopy greets visitors at a height that is almost touchable as the sound of the indoor/outdoor water feature ushers visitors into an intimate foyer area. Human connectivity and scale were key to maintaining the idea of “refuge.” House 6 is not spectacular in size, but a collection of intimate spaces inside and out—even the “grandest” space, the living area, is large without being excessive.
At the entryway, a bamboo gutter diverts rainwater to the garden. The outdoor water feature flows into the house, bringing good energy to the home, arriving at a pond that bridges inside and outside. Live, petite pond fish and the presence and sound of water connects nature to the home itself, filled with organic, natural materials. The living room’s entire south- and west-facing window walls pleat open to provide a seamless indoor/outdoor experience.
Craftsmanship and artistry is keenly present in every aspect of the floors, walls and ceiling. Concrete and natural materials are layered, thoughtfully hand-placed, colored, and textured in a smooth, ground, and inlaid finish. Concrete floors were raked and ground to provide both decorative and non-slip functions. Walls were “slip-cast” by reusing the same wall forms every 4 feet in order to creatively control hand-placing and integrally coloring the concrete. The numeric house address “6” was captured in concrete as a graphic element and is a serendipitous nod to the home being the sixth of Fu-Tung’s custom home projects. Even more appropriate, the symbol “6” has been long-associated with domestic stability, smoothness and tranquility—ideal sentiments to cast in stone for the house intended for refuge and repose.
Project Scope: Demo existing home, design new custom home, keep existing pool
Project Size: 4,000 s.f.
Location: Menlo Park, CA