For thirty years, the Fougeron Architecture studio has been deploying its modernist vision to find the perfect alignment between architectural idea and built form. The Suspension House is an example of this vertiginous challenge. To look at it, it’s like a cross between Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and M.C. Escher’s Impossible Constructions. The redesigned home, suspended between two Californian hills, embraces a stream, while possessing its own waterfall in the backyard.
“A man-made object in nature can exist in harmony or disparity,” stresses studio founder Anne Fougeron. “In this part of California, it’s no longer legal to suspend houses over a creek. So, there were strict guidelines on how to use the existing structure as a basis for design.” While the renovation retained 50% of the existing timber structure, the aim was to improve its relationship with the environment.
The orientation of the first two levels follows the existing house, while the new structure on the third floor rotates 90 degrees to better integrate with the terrain. The system, designed by the firm, is anchored in the rock face on the hillside, suspending the architecture above the water. Anne Fougeron then imagined it as an open structure, using transparent materials: omnipresent windows, transparent floors, outdoor spaces, straight crossed and floating staircases. The Suspension House, surrounded by water features, completes its architectural allure at the top, with a roof designed as a dynamic space bathed in light.