Menlo Park, California
Merrill represented an opportunity to transpose FIELD’s exploration of environmental response and material expression to an urban setting. The four-story, LEED Silver, mixed-use building is situated directly across from the Menlo Park train stop, creating a gateway to the town and reinforcing an important pedestrian walking path that connects the station with downtown. The design which houses commercial space on the ground level and residential units on the upper stories, begins at the street level, where the building engages the broad side walk that links restaurants, outdoor sitting spaces and cafes along the daily walking path to the town’s commercial center. Articulated as two interlocking volumes of stone and wood, the planes of the building angle back from the street to modulate natural daylight that enters the spaces and sweeping views that look across to the mountain ranges on the outskirts of town.
Each of the floors extends out onto broad outdoor terraces where narrow and deep overhangs are calibrated to achieve balanced natural light in every space. The terraces are bordered by integrated linear planters which allow native and adapted vegetation to traverse the building. Views over the planted edges merge with views of the distant landscape creating the sensation of the spaces reaching and connecting with the natural world beyond.