• Choose site based on the availability of shade.

• Use traditional courtyards to provide shade

and cooling for year-round use.

• Use traditional L-shaped or U-shaped

courtyards, particularly as entryways.

• Cluster different building functions around


• Plant shade trees on west side.

• Locate buildings for views and access to water.

• Avoid riparian areas—direct people to the water

with trails, but do not locate facilities there.

• Locate parking farthest from water in riparian


• Locate public facilities back from the rim of

canyons or on a bench above the riparian zone.

• Site entries on south side to create potential

courtyards and seating.

• Select site based on the form of the land; for

example, site structures to match the

horizontal plane of the landscape.

• Buffer parking from buildings to keep buildings



Figure is a plan view of buildings and walls creating outdoor rooms.


Figure of a courtyard and water feature for evaporative cooling.


Figure is a profile of a riparian zone that is protected with managed access from the development zone.


Figure of a riparian zone without buildings and protected from development.  Small facilities are at canyon constrictions and larger facilities are at canyon openings.


Figure of courtyards protected from the sun, while promoting



Figure of buildings clustered to create a courtyard. Trees are positioned and a veranda or trellis is constructed on south and west for shade.


Figure is a typical cross section of development in a riparian valley. The development zone is on a south-facing slope and construction is avoided in the viewing zone across the valley.


Figure is a typical site profile with parking and building zones separated by shaded buffers and courtyards.



• Structures are usually low, horizontal, blocky,

and rectilinear.

• Blocky, massive, rectilinear forms create

texture and shade.

• Terraced, stepped massing fits into landscape

better and is preferable to one solid block.

• Simple wall masses are common.

• Rounded, kiva-like building forms can work for

“special” places such as spaces for exhibits

and ceremonies.

California Variations:

• Foothills evoke taller, more vertical structures,

especially in areas with taller oaks and

mountain backdrops.

• Roofs and walls are in equal proportion.


Figure suggesting the building mass be kept more horizontal than vertical.


Figure of doors and windows used to create human scale.


Figures suggesting type of building mass:

·       Low, horizontal, and rectangular massing is appropriate for most structures.

·       Second story possible

·       Corners create added shade

·       Rounded forms may be appropriate for special and ceremonial functions



• Create a solid, firm base as a connection to

the ground.

• Design a rock foundation if rocks are prevalent

in area.

• Use a stone base for structural columns.

• Avoid an articulated base on level sites.

• Avoid elevation on “stilts.”

• Minimize foundation planting.

• “Band” the base in a different color so mud

splash will not show.

• Provide drainage away from structure.

• Design the bottom of the wall wider so that

walls appear “stacked” on top.


Figures of suggested treatment of bases:

·       Straight, vertical base for flat sites

·       Stepped base for sloping sites

·       Selectively clear vegetation & slope away from structure for drainage


Figure of types of bases to avoid:

Distinctly separate base
Elevating structure off ground


California Variations:

Stone bases are more prevalent in California

landscape types.

• Employ more variety in base types.

• Design the base to be more vertical.

• Use a battered base for slopes.


Figure of base created from different natural materials in the California Mountains.



• Walls (including parapets) are dominant in the

building composition.

• Walls are monolithic and massive.

• Monolithic, unadorned walls can be accented

by wood elements and detailing.

• Walls have soft, rounded edges and corners.

• Caps on walls add texture.

• Variations include buttresses on walls.

• Courtyard walls are extended from the building

with the same materials, color, and texture.


California Variations:

• Walls are thinner.

• Walls are less dominant in composition.

• Resistance to earthquakes is a primary

structural consideration.

• Use wood siding if stained rather than painted.

• Limit logs and heavy timbers to structures

at higher-elevation sites with more dense

vegetation; use moderate-size rather than

massive logs.


Figure of building in the California Mountains where walls and roofs are proportionately more equal.


Figure of walls that should be thinner in California Mountains due to more temperate climate and greater seismic activity.


Figure of butresses providing a vertical expression within a horizontal wall.


Figure of courtyard walls extending the building’s horizontal plane.


Figure of walls that are simple, monolithic and without an expressed base. The roof is a minor element and the wall is a major element.



• Use traditional and typical, thick, inset

windows, with deep shadows.

• Use smaller, punched openings—more

typical than large expanses of glass.

• Place window openings on the northeast and

southeast sides.

• Minimize openings on the west side.

• Give preference to operable, double-hung,

divided light windows.

• Select tall vertical windows rather than wide,

horizontal ones.

• Place windows high on walls to minimize the

reflection of light and heat from ground.

• Do not place larger windows on the west or

south sides.

• Include traditional ornament such as decorative

tiles and carved wood on doors and windows.

• Avoid horizontal bands of windows.

• Avoid windows at corners.

• Use exposed lintels—a structural element that

is also a cultural element—over openings.

• Use shade structures such as trellises and


• Avoid awnings.

• Include verandas and porches.


California Variations:

• Arched or detailed doorways and portals

are more common.

• Windows are not recessed.

• More and larger windows are suitable.


Figure of appropriate treatment of windows and openings:

·       Singular or grouped openings should be created with a vertical orientation.

·       Add details at doorways.

·       Windows should be recessed within walls

·       Windows should be placed on north, east, and south

·       Openings should not be on the west



Figure describes inappropriate corner windows.


Figure of shade created with trellis elements


Figure of larger, more detailed windows are more appropriate in

California Mountains.


Figure of door-frame flush with wall.


Figure suggesting more detail should be expressed at windows and doors at the head/lintel, jamb, and sill.


Figure suggesting that openings of courtyards be designed to create shaded areas.



Flat roofs are a strong cultural tradition in this

province, but there are historical precedents for

pitched roofs as well. Pitched roofs can improve

ventilation, create attic space, curtail vandalism,

and reduce maintenance. A suitable hybrid

involves hiding a gently sloping roof behind a flat

parapet wall.

• Use flat roofs within townscapes or in areas

with flat topography.

• Use pitched roofs in vegetated areas or within

more rolling topography.

• Design roof pitch ranges from 1:12 to 6:12.

• Add shed roofs to create porches.

California Variations:

• Use hipped and double-pitched roofs.

• Include larger overhangs.

• Include verandas and porches.


Figures of appropriate roofs:

·       Simple shed forms may be added to steeper-pitched gable forms with overhangs of 12”-15".

·       In California, broader overhangs should be created that focus views out to the landscape.

·       Flat roofs should be used in flat terrain. Avoid free-standing shed roof

·       Shed roofs may be hidden behind flat parapet walls

·       Pitched roofs with a moderate 12–15" overhang should be used in varied mountainous terrain



• Create exterior walls that are load-bearing and

should appear massive.

• Enclose wall structure but expose roof beams

(vigas) and other roof structure.

• Expose ceiling structure, including corbels,

beams, and rafters (often decorative).

• Expose lintels over windows.

• Protrude structural timbers through the


• Expose massive structures that have less

detail; however, lighter structures have more


• Use stout and strong columns on ramadas.


Figure of exposed structure that is limited primarily to roof supports such as load bearing walls, beams, corbel, column, and rafters.


Figure of structural expression limited to roof and possibly window supports such as the roof “viga” and lintel.




• Select natural materials with integral colors

that do not need to be painted or stained.

• Make walls from stone, adobe, concrete block,

or split-face block.

• Use suitable masonry materials including

CMU block, adobe, and stacked flagstone.

• Use strongly textured wall materials to create

a pleasing play of light and shadow patterns.

• Make a rough or smooth texture wall to match

the scale of setting.

• Use anodized steel to reduce maintenance and

as an alternative to wood on exposed


• Use fluted materials to disperse heat.

• Use decomposed granite and concrete to

match surrounding earth tones for pathways.

• Use pavers for highly developed areas or in

urban areas.

• Avoid materials on horizontal surfaces that

attract and retain heat.

• Avoid reflective materials that create glare.

• Avoid exposed wood unless protected from sun.

• Use native or locally produced materials when


• Use metal siding for utilitarian structures.

• Make traditional-style fences and shade

structures from small-diameter, collected

wood—sometimes called coyote, Mormon, or

grapestake fences.


Figure of materials types that may be more varied in the California mountains: Board and batten gable, Shingle gable,

Wood siding, Stucco wall, and Stone Base


Figure of ornamental use of manufactured split-free concrete block, including fluted detailing.



• Use standing-seam or corrugated metal roofs.

• Use heavy asphalt shingles, concrete tile, and

fiber-cement tile.

• Use concrete tile and clay “mission” tile if


• Avoid shake roofs and stamped metal shake



Figure of appropriate roofing materials:

Seamed Metal, Composition

Concrete or fiber-cement shingles, (Mission) clay tile,

Corrugated metal



• Make colors slightly darker than landscape

precedents as they will fade in the intense

sunlight. Dark colors also look lighter in the

bright sun.

• Use lighter colors for brightness in interiors.

• Use light, moderate earth tones, including brown,

gray, terra cotta, gray-green, olive, and sage.

• Avoid deep, rich greens.

• Avoid reflective colors.

• Use color as an accent in decorative elements

such as clay tiles, mosaics, and in door and

window frames.

• Use light, bright colors in townscapes.

• Use darker colors in mountains.


Figures that suggest a concentration of details at focal points:

·       Corbel intersection of column and beam

·       “Coyote” fence of native cedar with stucco or stone post.


Figures of detailing:

·       Handmade tiles located at a focal point of a chimney.

·       Entry door

·       Detail at end of structural members

·       Handcrafted fixtures and hardware including light fixture, hand-wrought door pull, and hand-wrought door hinge.




Chapter 4.8 Table of Contents

Reader’s Guide