The architecture firm of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects, based in Sausalito, on San Francisco Bay, and in St. Helena, amidst the vineyards of Napa County, is one of the historic local exponents of the design of wineries and ranch houses.

Over the last 17 years the studio has completed about forty such projects, scattered throughout the hills of the famous Napa Valley wine region. The latest creation is this villa immersed in the countryside, which reinvents rural American architecture with a contemporary tone.

The clean, sober forms of the building are combined with recycled wood to clad the facades: alternating boards, placed vertically and horizontally as in the construction tradition of classic American ranch houses, create a pleasing materic texture, adding dynamism to the exterior and blending it with the colors of nature.

The ongoing dialogue between landscape and architecture is underscored by the large windows cut into the wooden facades. Framed by slender galvanized steel sections, they offer selected landscape perspectives, making the indoor and outdoor dimensions intertwine.

The contemporary style of the casements by Secco Sistemi, that combine technological reliability with the beauty of design Made in Italy, attenuates any rustic overtones of the design, in a well-balanced mixture of tradition and modernity. A house as a work of architecture totally focused on perception of the landscape.

Text by Laura Ragazzola