Four Concrete Houses

Four Concrete Houses
Los Angeles, California

This project is located on 2 parcels in the flats of Los Angeles.  The zoning allows for greater density than is typical on these size lots, creating the opportunity to create 2 small houses on each of the 2 parcels.  The architectural challenge was how to provide privacy, openness, gardens, generous living space and the required parking and services within the small buildable envelope dictated by the lot sizes and zoning setbacks.

The buildings are staggered on the site in order to create privacy and maximize outdoor garden spaces for each house. A shared driveway doubles as the main entrances to each house, creating an alleé garden space, with grass pavers, whitewashed garden walls and planters lining the lane.  Each house is entered through their garden, with a generous ground floor indoor-outdoor living space linking the house and garden. 
The plan of each house is configured to be open in one direction for garden and views, and closed in the other for privacy.   The second level of each house is one contiguous kitchen, living, dining space with balconies overlooking the garden. The top private floor contains three bedrooms and bathrooms. The main stair and circulation space frames double height windows, skylights and openings in the floor plates that create a ribbon of multi-story space and light linking the interior spaces.

For economic and ecological reasons, the buildings are conceived in structural “shotcrete” with fly ash content.  The interior is finished in cement plaster over rigid insulation, creating a simple and unified construction assembly for the buildings.  Roof mounted PV solar panels, drought resistant plantings, permeable paving and FSC millwork further reduce the energy profile of the project.