Solar Ramada

South Bay Area, CA

Our brief was to design a structure to support a solar water heating system to heat a residential swimming pool while providing a shaded outdoor living area next to the pool. We were also asked to design an outdoor shower that would blend into the garden. Our clients have a keen appreciation for landscape and art and asked us to work in the context of their existing poolside sculptures, and their garden.

The structure is rotated and angled to maximize solar gain for the pool heating system while the footprint is orientated to work with pool and garden. The result is something that is naturally sculptural but doesn’t mimic the nearby sculptures.

The outdoor shower walls are part cement plaster and part coated wire lattice. In time climbing vines will cover the wire lattice.

The design vocabulary is taken from the Spanish Ramada of the American South-West. The cement plaster is meant to look like plastered adobe, the shapes of the walls are reminiscent of an adobe structures in partial disrepair. The Western Red Cedar used for posts and beams is native to the South-West and we imported latias from the area to give a truly authentic ceiling.

The wrought iron light fixture was comissioned by the owner and the beam splice was the inspiration of the builder.


Michael McKay
Staff designer:
Anne Nelsen
Bill Brown Construction

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