Residential Design

VOL.6 2018

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Tucked among the windswept grass- es of Coastal California's storied Sea Ranch community are dozens of poetic and earthy homes designed by Obie Bowman, FAIA. He has designed houses there and elsewhere in Northern Cali- fornia and Oregon for nearly 50 years, establishing a lasting legacy of sustain- able, sculptural, and sensuous residential architecture. His buildings are highly personal and original, and deeply reflec- tive of their owners and their settings. It's no wonder he's a local hero to all who love the natural world and wish to immerse themselves in its bounty. Each house explores anew how manmade ma- terials, natural elements, human beings, and the landscape might coexist in a gentle, artful, and exciting way. Don't be surprised to find whole tree trunks as structural columns in an Obie house, or a kitchen clad in corrugated metal, or even a shower wrapped in giant boulders and topped with a glass roof. Passive heating and cooling are baked in, so to speak, with solar chimneys at the center of the building. Sometimes you'll find a house buttressed from coastal winds by giant logs, or seemingly bermed into a mead- ow and covered in sod. Nature enters Obie's buildings at every opportunity and his buildings, in turn, make majesty of the interaction. His houses are not for everyone, to be sure. They are not for the faint of heart—those who wish to play it safe and build something that appeals to the masses. More often than not, they are also second homes—weekend houses in wine country, vacation houses by the seaside. As such, they can take liberties with program and execution—they are frequently an expression of the clients' real selves, or their wished-for better selves. They can have an element of fantasy and whimsy, and a hefty dose of exuberance. Obie's houses exhort their occupants to engage in the immediate world around them; they are not a passive backdrop for life, they are full- fledged participants in those lives. No two are alike, because no two clients and no two sites are alike either. Each prompts a unique and specific response that rises above adherence to any partic- ular style of architecture. The Poet of Sonoma OBIE G. BOWMAN, FAIA HEALDSBURG, CALIF. Photo: Tom Rider 12 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM VOL. 6, 2018 PRO-FILE DESIGN

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