LocationBeverly Hills, United States
Principal DesignAxel Schmitzberger, Chris Lowe
TeamJessica Schmitzberger, Cooper Ballantine, Justin Tingue
Text description provided by the architects. ELL is a 5,500SF ground-up Beverly Hills Developer residence designed for Luxe List Home. The building is located at the crest of the Benedict Canyon hillsides, overlooking the entire serene landscape of the Beverly Hills neighborhood. The project is loosely situated within the footprint of a former, now demolished, one-story 1950s residence.
A design-build methodology was employed and streamlined to meet a challenging schedule, with the dynamic design process that evolved during and prior to construction. The methodological constraints of the project led to explorations of an elevational architecture, focusing on systemic alignments and misalignments as tools to create a dynamic, yet minimal façade. Formal elements are subtle, accentuated, and exaggerated. Planes are simultaneously thickened and destabilized through the opening of corners and separation from the ground surface.
This technique allowed maximum freedom in developing a loose plan that emphasizes zones rather than rooms, which is played out with various degrees of privacy; the building is obscured to the street-front, yet completely open to the scenic view in the West. The ground-floor opens up to the elements using the architecture as framework for views of the landscape beyond. The second floor, which features the most private areas has a discreet roof terrace, which is set into the roof surface to exercise another dialogue between privacy and openness.
The entrance is shielded by a long, heavy, elevated wing wall that not only forms part of the ground floor and sideboard enclosure but also embraces an interior courtyard with an entry pond. This allows the east facade to be completely opened up over two stories while being visually almost inaccessible from the street.
The deck and zero-edge pool cantilever over the steep hillside and are extensions of the floor plans rather than landscape elements. This enhances the continuous interplay between interior and exterior throughout the house and artificially increases the footprint
The material vocabulary of the project is reduced to three related elements. The extensive glazing, with its reflective and transparent surfaces and thin dark glazing frames, is starkly contrasted by white stucco facades. Wooden slats serve as a textural mediator through the use of parametrically generated undulation. Inside, material contrasts continue. Expressed through sharp-edged geometries and articulated datum, juxtapositions of white stucco, grey stone, and soft, warm wood surfaces unfold throughout.