Prominent roof planes, projecting eaves and timber-lined soffits all contribute to the dramatic form of this new home

Sitting high in the Hollywood hills, this home is not just designed to take in the sweeping city to ocean views – thought has also gone in to how it looks from below on Sunset Boulevard

When you’re designing a home for a prominent, elevated site, one of the obvious considerations is going to be how to maximise the outlooks from the home.

But what may also be just as relevant is how the home is viewed from below.

Designed by Mark Bullivant, director at South African-based architects SAOTA, this expansive new home sits on a hillcrest in the renowned Hollywood Hills. And from here, Bullivant says, there’s a remarkable 300° vista.

“There’s a hierarchy of views, with downtown Los Angeles in prime position, across towards  Century City business district and out west to the ocean,” he says.

The owner already had a home in the hills and had bought the adjacent property, which meant the new home would have a significant frontage to take in those aspects.

“When you have so much of a view, the challenge is how not to detract from it when you build.”

So the triangular view corridor was the starting point for developing the layout of the home on the site.

Essentially the building responds to the views with two wings arranged as an L-shape. The site’s unusual contours have been accommodated by the kidney-shaped pool that sits on the southern side, between the two wings.

While the aim was for the three-level home to be as open to the view as possible, the design also had to meet stringent seismic requirements.

The basement, which houses a 12-car garage, is a structural element, with its concrete walls and lid. And above that is a lightweight steel frame structure, with significant elements that allow for large span glazed openings and cantilevered roof planes.

“The house is quite noticeable when people look up from Sunset Boulevard,” says Bullivant. 

“So some of the roof forms and horizontal lines projecting out from the building were considered for how they would be viewed from below.”

The effect is enhanced by the extensive use of timber on the soffits of the projecting planes, with the timber also continuing through as the ceiling material in some areas of the home, particularly in the master bedroom and bathroom.

The method of construction used is also a nod to neighbouring  modernist and Mid-century Modern homes.

“In some areas we exposed the structure, and the columns became elements within the floor plan. This added to the aesthetic and helped not to obstruct views.”

And the openness of the design also contribute’s to the home’s high degree of indoor/outdoor flow – something that Bullivant says is part of SAOTA’s DNA, with the firm being based in Cape Town.

“California shares that Mediterranean-style climate, so we design homes where you can be outside and be comfortable whether it’s in the summer or the winter.

“On the family wing side of the house, we created a huge outdoor living area, which is the focal point for entertaining within the overall scheme.”

“On the family wing side of the house, we created a huge outdoor living area, which is the focal point for entertaining within the overall scheme.

”Complete with bar, dining area, comfortable seating and a firepit, this entertaining terrace is open on three sides, but sits beneath the home’s upper floor for shelter. 

Glass stacker doors can be opened to connect this zone directly to the kitchen, which sits at the nexus of the two wings.

At the end of the other wing, there’s an even  more impressive connection, with six stacker doors able to be pulled back to give an opening of over 9m between the formal living area and the pool terrace.

A similar arrangement above opens the master bedroom to its covered balcony overlooking the pool.

Running through the home is a top-lit central atrium, originating in a courtyard complete with indoor waterfall between the main staircase and the garage, and providing access to the sweeping views at the arrival points on the living and bedroom levels.

“The relationship between the staircase and atrium creates an interesting dynamic,” says Bullivant.

“It’s part of the dramatic entrance sequence that starts down on Sunset Boulevard and continues with the approach to the property and up through the home.”

Credit list

Architect of record
Fortis Development
Interior design
MASS Beverly
Lighting design
Lux Populi
French limestone
Gris du Marias marble
JennAir, with bronze lacquer finish panel
Antonio Lupi Dune Tub
Pietra Grey marble
Project team
Mark Bullivant, Philip Olmesdahl, Alwyn De Vos, Eugene Olivier; Conrad Martin
Project manager
Park Lane Projects
Chris Sosa
Stucco and Thermory timber battens
MASS Beverly; Minotti LA
Kitchen cabinetry
Bathroom countertops
Pietra Grey marble by Milldue

Designed by: SAOTA

Story by: Paul Taylor

Photography by: Adam Letch

30 Aug, 2020

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