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Going underground

An expansive home with bronze anodised cladding set high on the Hollywood Hills heads underground to cool architectural spaces

Designed by: Zoltan E. Pali,  SPF:architects

From the architects:

Key details:

  • Located in the Doheny Estates of Hollywood Hills with expansive views of Los Angeles
  • A single-family residence with approximately 1207m² of interior space dug into a hill on a 2322.576m 2 lot
  • An exterior rain-screen facade consisting of bronze anodised aluminium bars
  • A mammoth 6.7m cantilever trellis
  • Interior constructed from steel, wood, and glass
  • A lower level predominantly made up of architectural panel-formed concrete

Full description

Sited on a flat pad near the end of the street, this two-storey, 3962.4m² house replaces a 279m² single-family home originally constructed in the 1950s.

To preserve existing views, the neighbourhood follows a strict hillside ordinance that limits any new construction to no more than one storey out of grade.

This house cleverly defies the directive not with an affront but with a building that both creates a good neighbour and answers the spatial requirements of the homeowners.

The home does not build up but digs into the sloping site to unearth additional square meterage.

While the move might suggest a dim and dank home, the truth is anything but.

Connecting the home’s two levels is a central atrium with an expansive 30m-long operable skylight.

Light-wells located along the north side of the property, too, infuse the lower level rooms – a fitness room and spa, four guest bedrooms, a den, and a service kitchen – with natural daylighting.

Overall, the interior spaces follow a modern open plan with a glass and steel staircase connecting the main level to the basement floor.

The upper annexes of the home – which hold the kitchen, living spaces, a master suite, and bedroom – are connected by sky bridges of the same material to limit any light obstruction and to imbue the home with additional warmth.

Sliders, detailed paneling, and sleek flooring also add to the open and quiet atmosphere within.

A CNC-milled wood partition lines the atrium and is a modern interpretation of geometric patterns observed from the owner’s homeland.

These patterns are believed to bridge mankind to the spiritual realm and it felt apt to position the sculptural wall within a transitional space such as the atrium, which indicates a buffer between the public and private areas.

California’s prototypical indoor/outdoor mode of living is on show on the southern face of the home, which comes clad in glass and can be opened up to a slip of lawn that extends out to an infinity pool covered by a 2m cantilevered trellis.

The glass curtain wall coupled with the uncomplicated landscaping harmonise with – and permit for –expansive views of the Los Angeles cityscape below.

A bird’s wing

The house was designed on a strict orthogonal 6mx6m grid, a facet most easily observed from the vantage of the living, dining, and kitchen spaces. Within these rooms, you can discern that the sliders, exterior pavers, interior tile, and lighting are all based on the grid. Although not overt, the geometry does induce a calming sensation as one begins to examine and uncover the order within the details.

That being said, although the home is established around a 6mx6m rule, the architect was not afraid to deviate from this edict.

At the front and rear ends of the home, the walls flare out to create a subtle geometry that yields a wing-like shape as if to capture or embrace the environment.

The move was intuitive as the residence is located on Nightingale Drive in the Bird Streets (located just above the Sunset Strip), perched on a hill. In short: Why not create a building that is an abstraction of a bird’s wing?

Adorned in bronze

The exterior cladding is in anodized bronze panelling.

This is clipped onto the building much like a more traditional metal panel installation.

The stack bond grid pattern, combined with the soft reflective quality of the anodized aluminium gives the project a bold but refined quality.

Visually dynamic, the material also responds to changing weather patterns and lighting conditions.

The metal blends into its environs as the sun drops, almost appearing black, but also reflects daylight, revealing a bronze hue at different times during the day.

Designed by: SPF:architects

Story by: Trendsideas

30 Jan, 2022

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