California dreaming: Summitridge makes the most of LA’s temperate climate

Beverly Hills; Summitridge
Los Angeles-based architects Marmol Radziner have just unveiled a new private house in Beverly Hills; Summitridge sits on a steep slope and makes the most of the region's temperate climate
(Image credit: Roger Davies)

Californian architects have long been blessed by an abundance of natural light and a dry temperate weather, which explains the airy expansiveness of so much of the state’s best architecture. And when a half-decent budget is thrown into the mix, the results can be both inspiring and aspirational.

In every way, the Los Angeles-based Marmol Radziner were the ideal architects for the Summitridge residence. The site, a steep slope that rises over downtown LA with views of Century City, the Getty Center and the ocean to the west, perfectly suited the firm’s penchant for interlocking volumes.

Ron Radziner says the client, an independent art collector, ‘wanted a modern home where every bedroom and living space has a view of garden roofs and the city beyond. They wanted the design to accommodate their grown children on the first and second guest floors when they would visit, and the master suite on the fourth, with the main living area in between. They envisioned indoor-outdoor living with an emphasis on exterior dining and entertaining against a natural colour and material palette.’

Floor plans

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

Take an interactive tour of Summitridge

Radziner solved the tricky issue of the site by terracing into the actual rock a series of interlocking boxes, including a 54 ft saltwater infinity pool, with alternating north-south and east-west orientations. Zinc panels and bronze finishes differentiate the masses, while dry-stack stone and cement plaster add a rough-hewn warmth to the spacious proportions of the house.

The dry Californian climate is specifically catered to, with drought-tolerant Mediterranean plantings alongside California sycamores and coast live oaks, and native hillside plantings that provide natural erosion control.

‘The material and colour combinations on the façade, together with the terraced volumes and planted roofs, allow the structure to recede into the hillside,’ Radziner says, though, if it’s not already abundantly clear, Summitridge stands out in every other way.

Exterior view with pool area

Designed as a series of interlocking volumes, the composition features lots of outside space, including a pool area at the rear of the property

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

views from every room

The owners asked for a home with views from every room, as well as a design that could accomodate their grown children when they visit

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

open approach with an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living

An open approach with an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living was also important to the owners

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

Kitchen interior multiple different textures

Timber and stone inside complement the zinc, bronze, dry-stack stone and cement plaster outside 

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

Interior bathroom

The children's bedrooms sit on the first and second guest floors, and the master suite is situated on the fourth

(Image credit: Roger Davies)


The house's main living areas are sandwiched on the level between these private parts of the building

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

striking views as per the owners' specification

By terracing into the actual rock, the architects solved the site's tricky slope, while framing the striking views as per the owners' specification

(Image credit: Roger Davies)

reflect the area's Mediterranean climate

The planting around the house was chosen to reflect the area's Mediterranean climate

(Image credit: Roger Davies)


For more information, visit the Marmol Radziner website

Photography: Roger Davies, courtesy of Marmol Radziner

Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.