Vertical House / Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects

Architects: LOHA Architects
Location: Venice, ,
Principal in Charge: Lorcan O’Herlihy
Project Team: David Thompson, Kevin Tsai
Client: Lorcan O’Herlihy & Cornelia Hayes O’Herlihy
Project year: 2004
Constructed Area: 223 sqm
Photographs: LOHA

The Vertical House, a 2400 square foot residence located along active Pacific Avenue in Venice, California, diverges from the pre-established response to front and back yards by balanced articulation of the skin on all faces.

A simple material, cement fiber board, has been innovatively used in conjunction with three types of colored glazing. This allows a powerful commentary on surface manipulation, defining architecture through the envelope of a volume rather than through the volume itself. Adhering formally to a simple box, while responding to the site restrictions that include extremely narrow setbacks and selected views, the articulated surface formalizes the state of hybridity inherent to the project.

Circulation and program are defined through a centrally located vertical core. This central core pulls away from the exterior envelope which adds greater length and dimension to the interior volume. Inclusive in this core is a central stair which extends to the roof where a reading room and deck allow views of the Pacific Ocean, only one block from the site.

skin diagram

The steel moment frame frees the skin from structural restraints, allowing an unrestricted rhythm of glazing, channel glass and solid panels. The skin illustrates the disparity of structure and envelope affected by different yet merging positions of exterior glazing. Most simply, one idea realized through materiality and light defines the architecture of this residence.

Cite: "Vertical House / Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects" 06 May 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • Marcus

    I’ve seen this house in Dwell magazine before. There are some very nice interoir spaces in this house. Especially the reading room and deck. The juxtaposed windows gives the interior beautiful lighting. However, It would be nice to see more drawings, floor plans, and sections.

  • Bo Lucky

    It’s unusual that architect presents his work in wider context. Especially in case of an infill. This building sits in its setting very well. David Thompson and Kevin Tsai found a perfect balance between sensibility, creativity and common sense in their work. I like it! And I agree floor plans and sections would allow for a better quality feedback…

  • josep

    I love this firm’s work!
    what i usually don’t like is their color scheme
    somehow it makes a modern fun building look a bit dated
    otherwise great interventions and great use of scale

  • Fino

    Meh. I like it, but I feel like it might have missed another round of better detailing of that cladding. The joints would have been nice if they were hidden/diminished in some way. Hm. It just looks a little too prefab, which I don’t this particular house deserves to look like.

    that is all.

  • royal creme

    I would have to agree that there is something reminiscent of a 70s office building not only in the coloring but the choice of narrow windows.

  • o+c

    The skin diagram unfolded elevation oblique is fantastic and the most legible of such unfold drawings that I have seen in quite a while.

  • RQH

    Royal Creme, the windows are narrow because they have no view and are right next to their neighbors. It maximizes light while maintaining privacy.

    Anyway, I use to live a few block away from this house on the same street (Pacific Ave, Venice) and I would always ride my bike the long way to the coffee shop so I could go by their house. :) Love it.

  • Daniel Con

    The interior shots are great but the exterior is basically wrapping paper. I know it was the architects intention to create a repetitive pattern to wrap the volume of the house, so i think they should have paid more attention to this wrapper, especially the colors. It should make some attempt to acknowledge the neighborhood while still being an individual. Architects shouldn’t design buildings in a vacuum.

  • h_hana

    Vertical House / Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects | ArchDaily

  • James Lukacovic

    great minds? @100khouse @isaphila