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Brief Published: 16 Jan 2012

Indoor/Outdoor Hybrid Home Extension


Blurring indoor/outdoor boundaries, Bal House in Menlo Park, California is a single-storey addition to an existing mid-20th century ranch that aims to bring a strong sense of nature into the very heart of the home.

Designed by Berkeley-based US practice Terry + Terry Architecture for a retired couple, the space uses the extension to form a link between the living space and the back garden, with a decked area tracing a simple line between the two. This is enhanced yet further by the use of hardwood, both for the external shell and interior surfaces – inferring that the transition from one space should be an unbroken journey.

The structure comprises two separate forms, clearly dividing the bedroom to the west and other areas to the east. A glass walled section joining the two also helps to bring a sense of the nature outside into the centre of the building.

See our report The Third Space for more architectural examples of hybrid indoor/outdoor rooms. Also look out for our upcoming report on the Return to Nature for an exploration of the increasing importance of introducing natural elements into our built environments.

Terry + Terry Architecture