Forty One Oaks is a home built in Portola Valley, California, by Field Architecture. The name of the home comes from the 41 oak trees that surround it, and that inspire the incredible views. The basic philosophy behind the 3,200 square foot home was to provide a sense of “porosity,” or the ability to connect with the oak trees that live on the same site. Field Architecture used primarily large windows to blur the space between living quarters and the oak trees. The house includes large pavilions as well as a guest house, a tennis court, and a Zen garden.
The dining room creates the greatest connection between house and trees. It sits on a promontory where it is cantilevered over the hillside, creating a sense of the forest being framed for the view by the warm wood floor and the cool concrete walls. Careful observers will note not only the oaks, but also the other occupants of the area, from mountain lions and jack rabbits to rocks and trees, all of which are a part of the carefully preserved wildlife corridor that runs through the site.
The home also uses the patterns of the sun to create a maximized thermal management system. Using the micro-climate of Portola Valley, the home’s concrete walls gain passive heating properties, while the windows have been placed to provide better ventilation. The effect is a comfortable living space year round.