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"Torno Del Cielo" (Ring Of The Heavens)
Residence For Dr. John and Barbara McRae

Vista, California, USA


John McRae is a retired Neurosurgeon. Barbara McRae is a multilingual traveler and health enthusiast. They raised a brood of children together and now wished to live in a way unlike their earlier life. They wanted to develop the idea of a new house for a new life based on a hollow ring, or torus, and they are both very ecologically committed and love gardens and water. They owned a 15 acre mountain grove of Avocado trees with a natural flat plateau.

The house is a giant reinforced concrete torus of 7.5 meters in sectional diameter, 28 meters in total diameter with a 5 meter hollow core. The torus structure is cantilevered and suspended over the north slope of the level plateau giving a dramatic sense of soaring into space. The double-helix structural system of the torus creates a virtually indestructible reinforced structure that dissipates wind and earthquake forces around itself. The torus has bands of opening windows and skylights with two living floor levels inside. Four weatherproof steel cables are supported by a cylindrical frame from which the torus is suspended. A 2 meter wide helical stairway takes visitors up to the main and upper floors of the torus house. A tail-like bridge structure to the south of the house features an array of photovoltaic panels that lead to a step-up hot tub that overflows into the swimming pool below and is recycled back up. A rain catch waterfall pours through the hollow center of the torus landing in a catch pool that again spills over the side of the plateau in a dramatic sequence of waterfalls which are linked to a constructed wetlands water plant cleaning system. The landscaping and car access is designed like a Spanish garden with unusual waterfalls, Cypress trees, bermed tree mounds, bar-b-q area , covered recreation area, swimming pool and flowered gardens all integral as one strikingly beautiful plan. Humanity and nature as one.

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