Cool House – Fred Fisher Ojai Studio

Architect: Fred Fisher
Location: Ojai, California


  • Industrial style
  • New construction – completed approx 2008
  • Wood frame with partial concrete walls at garage
  • Garage /studio space on first floor
  • Metal cladding on entire building
  • Lots of glass

Personally, I believe the most challenging, interesting and unique architecture  isn’t designed as a copy of an historic style.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Craftsman, Spanish, Victorian – you name it.  But to look at a piece of land – come up with an idea – without preconceptions and particularly if it works in its environment – that is true architecture.

And this home, designed by Fred Fisher, is just that.  In our area of Southern California, modern architecture is not unusual, in fact in Ojai we have several modern homes from Case Study architects.  However, the Spanish influenced architecture is probably the predominant style.

It’s an “elongated cube.”  I am guessing the exterior dimensions are about 60′ x 24′.  The garage is really a studio (who uses a garage for a garage anymore?) with high ceilings and great light – the garage door is glass and so is the back wall.

I watched this house during construction – and recently toured the finished interior.

The house is 2500 sf – not sure if that includes the garage – but it feels smaller.  The living area on the second floor is loft like –  mostly one large room.  The entire west wall is glass – opening up onto a steel deck. The entire house is clad in silver steel and the industrial type steel decking gives it a warehouse look.


Its always easy to criticize a complete project – not knowing the clients wishes – how the design evolved – and who am I to critique a great architect  but critique I must …

I wonder how the west facing deck works with the hot Ojai sun.  Really HOT sun !  It seems there might have been a way to shade the deck.

The garage is on the lowest level and works really well from both the front and the back but the middle level seems kind of awkward to me.  The guest room is located here and its nice that its a bit more private with its own level but …

I gather the client was a friend of Fishers while attending UCLA, and asked him to create a home like her New York loft.  It does feel a bit like a New York apartment.  Although the great room has beautiful volume, the kitchen is a tiny galley which seems awfully tight to me.

Set in the beautiful Ojai valley – the shimmering silver exterior sparkles like a crystal!

This shot from Fisher’s site shows how the tiny bath opens to the outdoors.

This shot from Fisher’s site shows the great room.

This west facing deck also from Fisher’s site

Santa Ynez – New Construction Remodel

I was lucky to “remodel” a Fred Fisher home in Santa Ynez.  It’s actually pretty easy to alter a building that has such a clear design program.  What I mean is – the design of the house is so strong and specific – that it is easy to add some of the same “language” to it.


For example -part of the remodel was to convert the art studio into a office/den and a bedroom.  We installed new windows – using the same windows and in a symmetry that seems to work with the original design.  Below you can see the commercial style window frames installed – ready for glazing.


Fred Fisher is an architect who leads a partnership that designs buildings around the world.  They do libraries, museums, big buildings and occasionally – lucky for us – they sometimes do homes!

For more info on Fred Fisher CLICK HERE

From Fred Fisher’s own web site

Discriminating clients in art, education, business, and culture turn to Frederick Fisher and Partners Architects (FFP) for architecture that brings clarity, purpose, and delight to modern life. Museums and galleries, educational facilities, libraries, restaurants, urban plans and parks, community spaces, mixed-use developments, live-work environments, and private residences created by FFP are recognized for their rigor, beauty, and authenticity.

Guided by the four pillars of process, context, function, and aesthetics, FFP’s long-time partners—Frederick Fisher, Joseph Coriaty, AIA, and David Ross—approach projects as collaborations with clients, stakeholders, consultants, and builders. They engender trust in the careful stewardship of their clients’ resources, vision, and intent. Local context and global sustainability set the framework for architecture, interior design, urban planning, and exhibition design for such clients as the Annenberg Foundation, Princeton University, Huntington Library, Broad Art Foundation, Colby College, Caltech, and Houston’s Restaurants, among others. Through adaptive re-use, LEED accreditation, and continuously exploring and refining the use of materials and systems, FFP brings creativity and responsibility to design.