photographer: Joshua White Photography
a private residence on a small hillside parcel in the Mt. Washington neighborhood
By combining the opulent 'Villa' with the more humble ‘casa’, this new construction of a hillside home has miniature delusions of grandeur. The 2100 sf house sits on a sub-standard (4200 sf) down-sloping property in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles. The compact hillside lot calls for an innovative strategy to create the perceptual illusion of privacy and seclusion (typically associated with a villa), within a fully developed suburban hillside neighborhood.
The building site is sculpted by an above ground lap pool on the downslope side of the property, countered by an exposed concrete retaining wall on the uphill side. Together these two site features carve a sizable horizontal landing for the ground floor living and dining areas which open to a cool entry courtyard to the north and sunny pool terrace on the southern face. This configuration creates a natural cooling effect for the house which pulls the canyon breezes through the house, conditioning the air as it crosses the cooler water evaporating from the lap pool.
The house is striated into two vertical levels with the more secluded sleeping and bathing spaces located in a solid volume enclosure at the upper level. Strategically placed openings are positioned to enhance the panoramic views to the surrounding hillside, while maintaining privacy and seclusion from adjacent neighbors and structures. The mass of the upper volume appears to float over the ground floor living and dining spaces. At this level, large center pivot aluminum and glass doors allow the interior to effortlessly open to the adjacent outdoor spaces, creating a flexible indoor / outdoor room which is visually connected to the canyon landscape beyond.
Design team: Space International Inc. - Michael Ferguson, principal
Project partners: consultants: Structural Engineer - David H. Lau / David Maynard