KELLER COURT COMMONS BUILDING, Petaluma, CA
Jim Soules and Milli Fredricks, the visionaries behind Keller Court Commons were inspired by the use of color in architecture that they saw on a trip to Barcelona, and asked me to create something bold for the exterior of the Commons Building in the middle of the Keller Court community. It has been a collaborative process, Chris Lynch designed the distinctive building and worked with Jim to develop the concept of using Hardi exterior concrete panels applied to a rain screen membrane. I designed the facade using different sized panels and plastered them with predominately natural plaster pigments. The design was integrated with the charred cedar (Shou Sugi Ban), used on the homes. Mike Jacob’s (General Contractor) crew, especially Jay Labo, cut the panels and attached them, often several times as I made color adjustments.
The colored panels are made using a technique that I developed in Italy using custom mixed lime plaster and natural pigments, troweled by hand in 3-5 layers to create variation in texture. The rich color was created by layering colors and textures. The plaster is heat and water resistant and can be used as walls, flooring in interior and exterior spaces. This innovative technique makes it possible to have fine art integrated into any area of a building.
When making a painting, I start with a blank canvas. When I am designing for a specific location, the site is my canvas. The views from the Keller Court Commons are extraordinary and the evening sky often displays a palate of lavender, red and orange. I used these colors, as well as the ocher and sage tones of the hills as my inspiration, and followed the sinuous lines of the hills in the background