Canyon Residence, Net-Zero Villa Property, California Home Images, Eco Architecture Development
Canyon Residence in Los Angeles
House, Workshop and Sculpture Studio Spaces, California, USA – design by Lehrer Architects
5 Sep 2016
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
Design: Lehrer Architects
Canyon Residence or Net-Zero Villa
The Owners’ life passions heavily defined the building’s program and design. The wife’s love of gardening and her background as a landscape contractor provided the parameters for the new building’s integration with the new site conditions, and her connection to the existing landscape demanded the protection of several of the existing trees. The husband’s passions for stone sculpting and innovative technologies drove the requirements for his personal Workshop and Sculpture Studio spaces, as well as the utilization of many of the newest innovations in contemporary home construction.
Lehrer Architects conceived the Canyon Residence as a timeless and comfortably elegant agrarian villa in a distinctly Modern tradition. The end result is a veritable “Encyclopedia of the Modern Villa” that blurs all boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces, is a seamless play of transparencies and solids, and de-materializes structural mass through abundant natural light and glass. Horizontal and vertical view slots are integrated throughout the house, as are sightlines to the entire property from every vantage point. Spectacular and at one with nature, the steel-frame structure is clad in smooth white stucco and expanses of sliding glass walls that literally open out to the garden and surrounding woods, and walkable skylights that visually open up to the sky.
The Project was conceived as a timeless and comfortably elegant agrarian villa in a distinctly Modern tradition. The end result is a veritable “Encyclopedia of the Modern Villa” that blurs all boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces, is a seamless play of transparencies and solids, and de-materializes structural mass through abundant natural light and glass. Horizontal and vertical view slots are integrated throughout the house, as are sightlines to the entire property from every vantage point. Spectacular and at one with nature, the steel-frame structure is clad in smooth white stucco and expanses of sliding glass walls that literally open out to the garden and surrounding woods, and walkable skylights that visually open up to the sky.
Driven by spatial clarity and informed by indoor/outdoor unities, the design exhibits intense horizontal/vertical rigor, with the grand-scale single-family residence organized around two planes: the horizontal plinth of the garden patio that extends the private garden into the living spaces of the ground floor, and the vertical spine that connects and organizes the various parts of the building program. Spaces that abut and traverse the spine create openings within the wall, framing views and vistas of the site and garden.
A 30-inch datum/glass wrap at the ground floor level gives the feeling that the house is floating, enhancing the graceful blending with atmosphere and surroundings that inspires the design. Clerestory windows above reinforce this sensibility. Almost every room in the house has floor-to-ceiling glass doors—pivoting, swinging, or pocketed—for fully immersive indoor/outdoor living. A minimal palette of white stucco, steel, pale wood, and glass further orchestrates the lightness that defines the house.
On the ground floor, the sweeping 900-square-foot living room becomes a dramatic outdoor pavilion when all the glass walls are opened. Corners are freed for seamless flow, and the environment becomes, in essence, a covered outdoor space. Notable design elements include a wet bar in white onyx.
The airy kitchen, which merges into the family room, features blonde wood islands with clean stainless-steel fixtures. A breakfast room exists as a Zen cube set into the open exterior space, adjacent to a Japanese garden.
The main stairs are built like cabinetry—with full-height glass railings seemingly inserted into the design—climb from the ground level to the upper floors. The wood articulation of the stairs in the 3-story volume echoes the ascent from exterior views.
In the master bedroom, the house itself becomes a 200-foot-long headboard, and the uninterrupted flow of space into the outdoors beyond creates an idyllic retreat. The spacious master suite flows into an open-air soaking tub overlooking the garden. Indoor and outdoor showers—with fogged glass for private areas that is graduated so there’s still a view on top—extend the al fresco experience. The master bathroom—which provides direct access to a sculpture studio and gym—features mirrors with etched glass for a silken finish, and sinks cantilevered on onyx bases.
On the third floor, a dramatic glass bridge connects an assistant’s office, a large recycled composite deck, and gym. The walkable skylight adds another level of transparency. Geometry is broken at this height to pay homage to the towering Sycamore tree, with a mesh parapet and railing creating a void zone.
Throughout, Lehrer Architects’ signature attention to detail is brought out by working closely with Horizon General Contractors. For example, each of the more than 10 types of marble, granite, and stone were personally selected by the owners in Italy for countertops that appear to be made of six-inch slabs of marble. However, by cutting the slab longer than the counter depth, beveling the extension, and “folding” it down along the front edge, the patterning maintains for a continuous look. “Detailing at the Canyon House is high-toned and elegant to assure that this Modern villa sings coherently as one singular, simple, complex composition—a symphony with major and minor motifs,” says architect Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA.
Acknowledging that the major trees “drove the desire of the house,” Lehrer also says, by way of describing influences on the project, “the compositional sensibilities owe much to Neutra—particularly the Lovell House—as well as Wright’s Hollyhock House, both from my native Los Feliz hills. Sectional and plan layering and zoning owe respect to Le Corbusier and Meier. Ground plane flatness owes its place in my brain to Peter Walker. The Villa Tradition of Palladio, an asymmetrical homage to the spread wings of Villa Barbaro at Maser, is a spiritual source.”
Inherently sustainable, the Canyon House is flooded with natural light and fresh air. There is no artificial air conditioning, and the floor hosts a radiant heating system. South-facing glass walls are accented with ceramic frit to block heat on warm days. The structure is topped with photovoltaic panels for electric power, and solar absorbers for heating water, maximizing the allowable energy production levels as determined by LADWP. Based on current energy calculations, the photovoltaic systems are producing just over 100% of the building’s electricity consumption, which includes nightly charging of the owner’s electric Tesla motorcar as well as powering heavy equipment for use in the Sculpture Studio and Workshop. The additional electricity produced on-site is being fed back into the grid.
Canyon Residence Los Angeles – Building Information
Completed: October 2010
Location: Los Angeles, CA.
Square footage: 13,250 sq. ft.
Structural Engineer: Reiss Brown Ekmekji
Interior Designer: Unique Custom Interiors
MEP Engineers: IBE Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: VCA Engineers
Soils Engineer: Geocon
Landscape Architect: Landscapes Designed
Lighting Designer: John Brubaker Architectural Lighting Consultants; Lighting Design Alliance.
Security Consultant: Gavin de Becker & Associates
Photography: Benny Chan Fotoworks and Michael B. Lehrer
Canyon Residence in Los Angeles images / information received 020816
Location: Los Angeles, Southern California, United States of America
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Website: Lehrer Architects