Los Altos-Palo Alto Showcase

'AIA Silicon Valley Home Tour' debut kicks off with four cutting-edge modern houses
Los Altos-Palo Alto Showcase
The first-ever 'AIA Silicon Valley Home Tour' makes its debut Saturday October 10 with an interesting collection of four modern homes, including this one in Los Altos designed by architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. Photo Nic Lehoux
Los Altos-Palo Alto Showcase
Tour house #2: Palo Alto home by Arkin Tilt Architects.
Los Altos-Palo Alto Showcase
Tour house #3: Palo Alto home by Bellomo Architects.  Photo: Pratima Shah

Architect Greg Mottola, who'll be standing inside a home he helped design during the first-ever 'AIA Silicon Valley Home Tour' on October 10, always enjoys answering questions from tour-goers. Many are the usual: What did this cost? What did that cost?

Those are natural questions, suggesting that the person who asks is contemplating hiring an architect to build a home. That's an outcome the American Institute of Architect's local chapter welcomes.

But Mottola, a partner in the San Francisco firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, really enjoys questions of another sort. "I love it when people notice little details and want to ask you about them. What was your thinking behind that?"

The self-guided tour runs Saturday, October 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a meet-the-architect mixer Friday, October 9, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the shop Rejuvenation in Palo Alto. Four homes in Palo Alto and Los Altos are on the tour. The AIA is encouraging tour-goers to bicycle to enjoy the neighborhoods.

Besides the Bohlin Cywinski Jackson house in Los Altos, three other homes are on tour, including a butterfly-roofed, "high-performance California courtyard house by the firm Arkin Tilt Architects in Palo Alto; a modular steel structure, one-story home, also in Palo Alto, from Bellomo Architects, whose plan revolves around a lap pool; and a home from Studio URBIS that ingeniously provides two light-filled stories of living, plus a pool and trees, onto a narrow Palo Alto lot.

"The dwellings feature cutting-edge, modern environmentally sensitive residential design, with a focus on sustainable features," the AIA states.