First things first: the setting of this coastal house is breathtaking. Rincon House is high on a mountain on the Santa Barbara coast of California with a view forever and amid untouched vegetation. The natural surroundings are as much inspiration for the visionary design by the multiple award winning studio ANACAPA of Portland, Oregon as that view. The idea is that as you approach, Rincon House simply disappears, as if it was some undiscovered ruined monument. This is one coastal house that is less a statement and more an anti-statement.


Since this is California, the in-your-face coastal house is commonplace. That makes the approach taken here all the more radical. If minimalism is the art of all that’s needed and absolutely nothing more, Rincon House is minimalism taken to its very extreme. There’s certainly space to park the Ferrari - well out of sight, so that you’re not considered to be boasting - but you won’t see the garage from the street. It’s a detail that typifies the humility of this project.

Indeed, architects ANACAPA describe the first view of their coastal house as "a series of eroded masses nestled within the confines of the hillside”. Translated out of architecture-speak, this turns out to mean a mysterious group of grassed rectangular structures in front of you. These are the living roofs of Rincon House, and the effect is to submerge a large dwelling into its landscape, as if they’re abandoned evidence of a previous civilisation rather than your Californian coastal house retreat.

Inside, the architects have made sure that visitors to this Santa Barbara coastal house aren’t immediately confronted with the view. "The building asks for them to be patient,” say the architects, so at first there are views of sky, tumbling indoor gardens and small courtyards. Walk down into the vast open plan main living space, however, and there is that vista laid out before you through floor to ceiling windows, somehow all the more impressive for being withheld.

For the moment, the radical approach taken here remains a concept. Rincon House has still to be built and we think you’ll agree this visionary residence deserves to be commissioned. Its multiple award winning architects say that they "approach all projects with a spirit of enthusiasm and exploration” which is, in our humble view, something of an understatement. "We are a fully integrated design firm,” they add, "that goes beyond traditional approaches to design. We solve problems and create incredible designs.” Rincon House certainly is incredible. We’d be happy to fly over for the housewarming party.

Find out more from ANACAPA.