Rustic Canyon View House is designed around its leafy Californian vistas

Rustic Canyon View House is designed around its leafy Californian vistas

Set on a steeply angled site within the green and rural oasis of the leafy hillsides and canyon between Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades in California, this house was a challenge to design; but one that owners and architects Jeanne Chen and Bob Dolbinski of Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners welcomed, when they decided to buy the seemingly unbuildable plot in 2004. 

The team was after a site for their own home when they came across the sloped piece of land in a part of America that is ‘rich in architectural heritage and rimmed by a number of Case Study homes including the iconic Eames house’, they explain. It took them a lengthy ten-year process to get through planning permissions, but now, the new home sits comfortably perched among nature, its sculptural form peeking pleasingly through the trees. 

Arranged vertically, the house spans a little under 200 sq m. Photography: Colins Lozada

The architects arranged the residence’s programme vertically, working with the land’s natural incline. The entrance, a studio, and car park sit at the top level; the main living spaces, including kitchen and dining space, as well as a covered porch are placed at mid-level; while the master and guest bedrooms with a shared common space are located on the floor below. Spanning a little under 200 sq m, the house feels open and comfortable, despite its fairly narrow footprint, in a masterful architectural slight of hand, rooted in a clever arrangement of levels and openings. 

Every part of the house maintains a strong connection with its context, either via large glazed parts that open up to wide vistas, or outdoor areas in the form of gardens, the porch or a long deck wrapping around the lowest level. 

Taking into account the environment in more ways that one, the architects employed passive environmental strategies throughout, naturally minimising heating and cooling loads, for example, and bringing together contemporary design and sustainability within a single, coherent and context-sensitive piece of architecture. §

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