The site of this new three-bedroom home--a 250-foot bluff above the Pacific shore--clearly called for a building that would exploit its superlative views. But to architect Anne Fougeron’s way of thinking, it also demanded “a form more complex than a giant picture window.” Her response is this subtly conceived architectural fugue, which descends in zigzag steps toward the site’s precipitous edge. Along the way, the building frames a series of remarkable indoor and outdoor spaces, all anchored and informed by their natural surroundings.

The sequence begins at the house’s uppermost level, with a building module that contains living, dining, and kitchen functions. The floor plan describes a shallow V, turning broad expanses of glass toward the north and sheltering a two-level terrace at the south. One flight down is a library/den, whose glass walls and roof admit a full arc of earth and sky. The glassy space comprises the buiding’s core, Fougeron says, and “unites the house inside and out, both with its geometry and its transparency.”

The den opens onto the lower terrace, a pair of bedroom suites below the kitchen and upper terrace, and the master bedroom suite that forms the building’s seaward prow. With a concrete floor structure cantilevered 12 feet over the brow of the bluff, the bedroom creates the sense of hovering above the shoreline. “It looks like a ship that’s perched there,” said one judge, who praised the building’s appropriateness to its site. “This house could not just be transported anywhere.” --B.D.S.

On Site The house’s site virtually dictated an upper-level entry. Architect Anne Fougeron embraced that necessity, organizing interior spaces on a public-to-private gradient that follows the slope of the land. A wall glass unifies the progression with an unbroken shoreline view toward the north.