Tree house / Standard

L.A. based practice Standard sent us this 167 sqm and wood passive solar house on the top of a hillside in Los Angeles.

This house responds to its site and the city through its transparent southern exposure. A large ash tree literally envelopes the house, creating a microclimate to which the project responds. The house employs passive solar design and other low tech methods of climate control even as the open south elevation allows panoramic views of the Los Angeles basin. A partially concealed post and beam structure modulates the exterior and allows openings to span from floor to ceiling. The second floor bears on thin stainless steel columns and cantilevers over a concrete deck, which in turn cantilevers over the slope. The horizontal layering of the roof and floors extends the interior and engages the space under the tree. The strong horizontal projections also provide visual balance to the immense trunk and limbs. Redwood siding clads the overhangs and defines the transition between the inside and out.

The horizontal layering of the roof and floors extends the interior and engages the space under the tree. The strong horizontal projections also provide visual balance to the immense trunk and limbs. Redwood siding clads the overhangs and defines the transition between the inside and out.

All photographs by Benny Chan

Cite: "Tree house / Standard" 10 May 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 Jul 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=21616>

13 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    This wants to be a great project and it squarely into the canon of California modernism. However, the details are really devilish. I just cannot escape the strong Home Depot hottub vibe of the wood cladding across the back of the living room. I might expect to see that in some Topanga canyon ganja junkies den but not in a house with these aspirations.

    Likewise, the lighting solution is just abysmal and illogical. These ceiling cans just reek of DIY hardware store detailing. It puzzles me that architecture with environmental aspirations ignores lighting as a source of savings and visual poetry. Southern California architects were already doing beautiful things with fluorescent lighting (admittedly not a perfect environmental technology) in the 1930s. Why not skip the $9,000.00 Eames sofa an invest in decent lighting?

    Terry Glenn Phipps

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I agree, I think the detailing could make this so much more special (maybe dramatic?) This is bland for such a nice connection to the site.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Although the tree is not very beautiful, without it that house would be like many others, nothing particular.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Tree or no tree the house IS a house like many others.. Enough with the weak-folds-projects! Dear associates, please step up!!

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    TGP, THANK you for the comment about the lighting. I’ve been saying the same thing for years.

    Recessed can lights are the most abused and misunderstood tool in current lighting trends, and I too miss the indirect/ambient (often fluorescent) light designed into the space by midcentury architects. The same principles can be executed with better technology these days.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Many of the details and/or lighting aspects could have been poor decisions made by a contractor and/or the owner, in an effort to save money.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    A single tree located way too close to the building does not make a “tree house”. I wonder how long it will survive in its new environment? There is something wrong with the house itself too. Awkward proportions, building materials don’t seem to coexist harmoniously, poorly designed lighting and this main entrance through the dining area? I don’t like this house at all…

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