Flight House

flight house

The project was to design a single-family, live-work home in the agricultural California Central Valley countryside, in the Pacific Flyway. Located just ten minutes away from town, this custom homestead was an opportunity for a couple to bring back childhood memories of playing in far-flung meadows and to bring them to life for their young son.


Flight House is a Central Valley adaptation of the Case Study Houses of Pierre Koenig. Working more than 60 years ago, Koenig’s vision for affordable contemporary living, providing modernity and elegance together with privacy and openness, is applicable today. His steel and glass houses offer a free flow of space between functions within the house and between indoors to out. Their simple diagrams are based on the properties of structural steel frames and walls of glass.

Maria adapted the principles of Koenig’s suburban houses to the rural landscape, laying out an interconnected complex of one-story buildings that commands a 4.5-acre site surrounded by fields, a private meadow, and a micro-farm. She developed a regionally inspired, architectural language takes cues from the expansive valley sky, long views, and circadian rhythms of the site. Its structural wings pay homage to the hundreds of bird species that travel the Pacific Flyway, as well as the planes that crisscross the sky far above.

Tall, folding glass doors open the corners of the house to the exterior when the weather allows, seamlessly connecting the interior and the land. Employing an innovative Structural Concrete Insulated Panel construction system, it is a 21st century example of integrated, holistic, and sustainable design.

Flight House makes the most of the client’s modest budget to create a contemporary, regionally inspired house that captures the diurnal cycle, tracking the sun’s path from sunrise to sunset as the family goes about their day. It builds on the heritage of California modernism, but is constructed of materials that have been adapted to be more energy-efficient and livable in the Central Valley desert climate.