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Publication Date: 2014-09-26

Inspiration

An Award-Winning Landscape in Portola Valley, California

A convex concrete wall divides the field like a prow in a Portola Valley landscape by Stefan Thuilot. It’s one of several gestures, including steel arcs radiating from a sunken terrace and a cantilevered platform thrusting out from a hillside, that reflect the architect’s Serra-esque concern with sculpting space. Thuilot, who holds degrees in fine arts and architecture, is also concerned with the content of his interventions—solitude and socialization, enclosure and release—and with their ecological impact. “The garden is experienced on multiple levels,” says Thuilot, “from floating above the breathtaking landscape, to descending into a sunken courtyard, to sitting at the edge of a lush, reestablished meadow.”

Principal of Thuilot Associates, an award-winning landscape architecture firm based in Berkeley, Thuilot designed the hard-and-soft-scapes surrounding the new ground-up residence by architect Tom Carrubba of Square Three Design. The site features several distinct areas, including a terrace with custom fire pit, outdoor kitchen and infinity pool, a sunken amphitheater, treehouse (designed by Carrubba) and a meadow overlook that symbolically releases the property back into nature. “It’s always challenging to create formal garden areas and make the transitions feel easy,” says Thuilot. “In one area, we created the terrace, pool and floating platform—which are very stylistic and formal, distinct from natural land below—while in another area, we wanted to bring the natural meadow very close to the house, right to the foundation, so that the house seems part of the grandness of the landscape.” Read the rest of the article on SFC&G (San Francisco Cottages & Gardens).

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