Beverly Hills ‘hillside village’ is MAD’s response to high-density urban living
MAD’s Ma Yansong reveals Gardenhouse, a Beverly Hills housing scheme designed to offer a green, organic alternative to high-density urban housing
On the corner of 8600 Wilshire Boulevard in California’s Beverly Hills, a cluster of white pitched rooftops seems to be emerging out of rich, green foliage. This is Gardenhouse, MAD’s highly anticipated, first USA project and the Chinese practice’s answer to high-density urban living.
Envisioned as a ‘hillside village’, the scheme - a boutique development for Palisades Capital Partners LLC that mixes residential with commercial uses - was inspired by the lush landscape of the area, explains MAD founder Ma Yansong. And with its irregular shapes, roofs reaching various heights, range of different openings and greenery, Gardenhouse was also designed to create the dynamic of an organically formed neighbourhood.
‘Los Angeles and Beverly Hills are highly modernised and developed,’ says Ma Yansong. ‘Their residences on the hills seemingly coexist with the urban environment. However, they also see enclosed movement at their core. The commune connection between the urban environment and nature is isolated. What new perspectives, and new value, can we bring to Los Angeles? Perhaps, we can create a hill in the urban context, so people can live on it and make it a village. This place will be half urban, half nature. This can offer an interesting response to Beverly Hills: a neighbourhood which is often carefully organised and maintained, now with a witty, playful new resident.’
Spanning five levels and 4,460 sq m, the development offers 18 residential units above ground floor commercial space. Balconies, paved courtyards, planted areas and external circulation - all these private, for the residents’ use alone - ensure indoors and outdoors blend effortlessly. The apartment offering spans from compact, efficient studios to large rooftop villa-like penthouses.
Ma Yansong has often spoken about his desire to encompass natural landscapes in his designs, recently explaining how this has shaped MAD’s approach to both buildings and masterplanning on the occasion of the firm’s completion of the Nanjing Zendai Himalays Center mixed use urban complex. Here too, Gardenhouse is created as a ‘a rebuttal to the stereotypical cubic-box living environments of high-density cities across the world,’ he explains.
In line with this, the scheme offers one of the largest living green walls in the USA. A mix of native, drought-tolerant succulents and vines are planted there and along the complex’s generous gardens and open areas - offering a natural, organic and seasonally changing source of joy and serenity for residents, visitors, passersby and the wider neighbourhood. §