Organic Architect

Organic Architect

San Francisco, CA


Palo Alto Residence

It was a typical suburban house, facing the street and not very nice.  A series of remodels over the years added a makeshift laundry area at the back of the garage, but it never worked well.

The two wings extend from the back and both turn towards the sun.  Both wings work the same way:  Those high clerestory windows are operable.  The idea is that you open the high windows and a pair of lower windows.  The breeze blows across the yard and is pulled through the wings to cool it.

If you're chilly, you close the windows and the overhangs were designed to let ONLY the low winter sun through the windows.



  • ultra low flow dual flush toilets
  • bamboo cabinets
  • recycled paper cabinets
  • salvaged metal on the interior ceilings
  • non toxic paints
  • non toxic adhesives
  • non toxic stains
  • cork flooring done in an organic pattern (curvy)
  • reclaimed barn doors used on exterior
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood used throughout
  • passive solar design
  • solar thermal hot water heating system
  • radiant heating system
  • dual chamber boiler uses one appliance for both water and space heating
  • EnergyStar appliances
  • reclaimed wood flooring
  • childrens' play ladder/climbable bookcase for access to hideaway loft is made from scrap materials (you'll see!)
  • Natural daylighting added throughout the home using SunTunnels
  • Beams removed from existing ceiling were reused
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Status: Built
Location: Palo Alto, CA, US
My Role: Principal Architect