The title of residential architect’s July 2003 cover story on Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects, “Light on the Land,” alluded to the site-sensitive nature of the Northern California firm’s work. Nine years later, it seems even more appropriate, as the firm has delved deeper into the realm of sustainable design. Turnbull Griffin Haesloop has always tried to use passive solar principles and eco-friendly materials, but now many of its residential and institutional clients also are requesting more active green elements such as solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and rainwater collection. “More of our clients are coming with that commitment,” says partner Mary Griffin, FAIA.

Griffin and partners Eric Haesloop, FAIA, LEED AP, and Stefan Hastrup, AIA, LEED AP, note that state green building codes also have served to popularize sustainable design. “It’s no longer exotic,” Hastrup says. Among the firm’s recently completed projects is a LEED Platinum-certified building for an independent school in Ross, Calif. It’s also working on a house in Petaluma, Calif., that’s aiming for LEED Platinum, as well as a Passive House-designed prototype duplex for faculty housing in Pebble Beach, Calif. “[Sustainable design] is another layer of reading the site,” Haesloop says. “Some clients are really interested in water conservation. Some are into energy use. You get to explore different avenues.”

In 2006, the firm moved from Berkeley, Calif., to an office in San Francisco. As in the Berkeley space, the eight-person staff—including the partners—occupies an open studio environment that fosters communication and idea-sharing. “We still generally work on the designs together,” says Haesloop of himself, Griffin, and Hastrup, who became a partner in 2008.

Turnbull Griffin Haesloop’s mix of custom residential and small institutional clients has helped it weather the economic storms of the past few years. It’s also taken on some remodeling projects, including an under-construction renovation of a house in Sausalito, Calif. (An earlier Sausalito remodel, of Griffin’s own home, won a 2006 Custom Home Design Award.

The firm is in the early stages of teaming with a prefab builder on an affordable housing development, and it’s also got some custom homes and school/community projects in various stages. “We have to be really flexible,” Griffin says, citing the unpredictable economy and ever-evolving building codes. “We really don’t get bored.”

Turnbull Griffin Haesloop retrospective

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    ra50: Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects

    Turnbull Griffin Haesloop deftly weaves architecture into the landscape, and vice versa.

  • the glass rear wall permits valuable solar gain and daylighting.

    Private Residence, Sebastopol, Calif.

    When architects Mary Griffin and Eric Haesloop first saw the land for this northern California project, they knew just how to site the house.

  • a butterfly roof opens up the main house to the landscape and pond.

    Private Residence, Atherton, Calif.

    The most striking feature of the 1960s teardown that once occupied this Atherton, Calif., site—the Grand Award-winner in the Custom Home / 3,000 to 5,000 square feet category—was its manmade pond. When the longtime owners decided to build a new residence on the same spot, they asked architects Mary Griffin and Eric Haesloop to keep the pond and recreate the original home's sense of retreat and seclusion.

  • to conceal the window shades and a junction box for the nook's light fixtures, the architects designed discreet cedar casings. hidden pieces of steel stabilize the benches and tabletops.

    one step up

    In much of our work, we spend a lot of time detailing to make things look really minimal,” says Eric Haesloop, AIA, LEED AP, a principal at the San Francisco firm Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects.

  • sited to take advantage of the transition from open to wooded landscape, the main house/dining hall overlooks ranches in the valley below.

    private residence, carmel valley, calif.

    The clients' memories of their Catskills cabin inspired the design of this summer compound. Eric Haesloop, AIA, and Mary Griffin, FAIA, took their idea several steps further, reinventing the log cabin vernacular with a main house and guest cabins that evo

  • our custom home of the year employs familiar western forms to create something that feels completely new yet perfectly at home in its rocky mountain setting.

    Walden, Colo., Residence

    When it was in the planning stage, this weekend retreat had some people a little nervous.

  • nestled among mature firs, spruce, and oaks, this coastal home maximizes views of the lush vegetation as well as the water to the east.

    the sea inside

    “We're not Costco shoppers,” Anne Evans told Eric Haesloop, AIA, and Mary Griffin, FAIA, before they started designing her vacation home. This tidbit of information let Haesloop and Griffin know they didn't need to include tremendous amounts of storage sp

  • this remodel of the architect/owner's longtime family home preserves its original 1860s exterior.

    Sausalito, Calif., Residence

    Architect Mary Griffin had lived in this house—the oldest in Sausalito, Calif.—for 15 years by the time she remodeled it.

  • the stair up to the front entry continues on the other side of the house, coursing down to the pool area (shown here).

    private residence, napa, calif.

    When faced with a site as lovely as this Northern California knoll, most architects wouldn't be able to resist designing a house that's just as dramatic. But Turnbull Griffin Haesloop restrained itself, and the result is a house whose intimate relationship to the land won over the judges.

  • the lawn between the main building and the pool house serves as an outdoor room.

    private residence, st. helena, calif.

    Turnbull Griffin Haesloop's clients for this Napa Valley cottage wanted a single-story house. But their site, an idyllic hillside, lent itself to a two-story plan. Architects solved this problem by terracing the hillside with two stone retaining walls, creating a plateau.

  • the pleasures of the bath are well-appreciated in a turnbull griffin haesloop house. at the bunch residence, an elevated soaking tub beckons in the master bedroom.

    Light on the Land

    Turnbull Griffin Haesloop’s site-sensitive houses build on a virtuoso’s foundation.