- Design Team:David Thomson (Principal-in-Charge), Gregory Marin (Project manager), Raul Aguilera, Can Jiang
- Engineering:CM Peck
- Landscape:Fiore Landscape Design
- Interior Design:Susan Mitnick Design Studio
Text description provided by the architects. Composed of three pavilions connected by a series of glass hallways, the single-story residence seeks to create a residential oasis in the heart of Los Angeles. The Western Red Cedar lined guest house/garage pavilion establishes a datum line that carves and connects the two larger volumes of the living and sleeping pavilions, comprised of oversized charcoal-colored board, batten extira and cement board siding. A walkway of concrete pavers, lined by wild grasses leads to the front door, passing a tranquil courtyard with olive trees. The entry to the house is located within a glass hallway connecting the living pavilion to the west and the sleeping pavilion to the east, establishing a sense of intimate scale before engaging with the other parts of the house. The fluidity between the kitchen, breakfast room and family room, designed for uninterrupted entertainment, creates a harmony of transparency and lightness.
A glass hallway connecting the guest pavilion to the living area makes metaphorical reference to geological history, spanning bridge-like across an old creek that once ran through the property. Unlike many iconic Los Angeles homes that orient themselves around panoramic city views, the Laurel Hills Residence is in the foothills of the famed Laurel Canyon, where the property offers a secluded and inwardly focused experience with a majestic backdrop of lush and mature trees. The entire site here is treated as we are accustomed to treating interiors. The surrounding trees and hills are taken to be the building envelope and the exterior walls of the house are reconceived as a series of partition walls. Instead of only externalizing interior spaces, exterior spaces are also internalized.
The grounds are interlocked with the interior space and the entire ensemble is activated by the purposeful arrangement of deeply layered sight lines, vignettes and circulation connections. Large windows, skylights, and pocketing doors infuse the home with natural light, reflecting off wooden floors and marble countertops. Outside, the 40-foot-long pool and ample space create a series of outdoor rooms for outdoor entertaining. A minimalist palette of charcoal colored panels and Western Red Cedar serves as a neutral canvas, complementing the home’s landscape featuring California native species.
The materials consisting of Western Red Cedar, darkly painted cement board and glass are simple and unaffected, blending seamlessly with its context of the neighborhood and the property’s natural surroundings.The residence attains the required energy and environmental goals set forth by the City of Los Angeles including reflective roof surfaces, LED lighting, high efficiency HVAC systems, properly specified and installed insulation, high efficiency glazing systems, permeable ground surfaces, and a rainwater collection system that is used to irrigate the drought tolerant landscaping.
Principles of effective site orientation are also utilized with southern facing walls that are without glazing or protected by overhangs. The formal decision to build a single-story residence ensures the building is largely shaded below the surrounding tree canopy and the resulting large roof area permits the installation of a 15kW photo-voltaic system capable of feeding excess power back into the city’s grid. A deep overhang mitigates solar heat gain and shields from the sun exposure.