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Almost Famous

Single Family Dwelling + ADU + Guest House

Los Angeles, CA

AiA Los Angeles Next Design Award 2021

This project is a modest house and a couple of accessory buildings to accommodate a family of four and the growing and varied occupancies that have become the norm in recent times. The site is an unusually large property that is topographically steep and blessed with abundant natural attributes like thick tree cover, native plants and stunning hillside views from a level bluff near the top.   The proposed design attempts to maximize on these opportunities while limiting impact on the delicate context.  A new private driveway will be built along an existing path that gently rises up to the plateau.  The proposed buildings will be sited along the downslope edge of the road.  The spaces and rooms of the house and ADU are laid out along a linear one story plan in order to allow every room to have unobstructed access to the views.  Siting the buildings out over the edge of the slope will minimize foundation footprints  while reducing the need for retaining walls or excavation cuts into the hill.  This tactic naturally defines a private yard between the southern face of the main house against the up sloping hill and the trees.  The main house plan is bent near the center to conform with the topographic contours of the upper plateau.  The “elbow” at this bend is where an open observation deck is carved out to become the hub of the house.  A similar condition at the accessory dwelling unit down the slope is created by extending a deck around an existing mature tree to utilize the canopy as a natural cover.  A two-story guest house over a garage is sited at the southeast defining a third edge of the private yard and also creating an entry porch and portal via a breezeway spanning to the main house.  The low impact continues with all electric building systems and equipment powered by solar panels.  Site runoff is reclaimed and used for irrigation. The building exterior materials are non-combustible fiber cement siding, cast-in-place concrete and standing seam metal roof under a low slope gable roof.  We deliberately avoid overt or dramatic design forms that would only detract from the natural beauty of the site.  The buildings effortlessly and elegantly blend into the hillside like they have been there for decades and prepared to become historic monuments of the future.    

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