Architect: Olson Kundig
Owner: Bruce Shafer
Location: Tehachapi, California
Category: Up to $1.5 million in construction cost (category two)
A family retreat embedded into the tough, scrubby landscape, Sawmill is self sufficient, durable, and economic.
Set in the harsh high desert of California, Sawmill is a family retreat embedded into the tough, scrubby landscape. The design approach was driven by a scavenger mentality—at every turn, Sawmill harnesses the extreme opportunities presented by its remote site—seeking always to do more with less. The net-zero home operates completely off the grid, reducing environmental impact and operating costs. Salvaged and recycled materials were used whenever possible, including structural steel recovered from a nearby cement mine and wood discovered onsite in an existing barn. The benefit of such choices is manifold: not only were these materials diverted from the waste stream, they provided significant cost savings while reducing the home’s carbon impact. Ultimately, Sawmill’s low-maintenance and durable materials were selected for their ability to withstand the rugged environment that the family seeks to engage with, making this home tough as nails and long-lasting for future generations.
"Elegant in its simplicity" ~ Jury comment