Modernist-inspired residential gem Stradella completes in Bel Air
South African architects Saota are an established force in the market for upscale, contemporary, single family houses. They are popular for their modernist-inspired approach, which fuses strong connections between indoor and outdoor living. Now the Cape Town-based practice has just completed its first offering across the ocean – Stradella, a newly renovated villa in Los Angeles’ Bel Air.
The project was a contemporary reintepretation of an existing 1970s residence. The client requested a modern home that would be more in line with the region’s renowned modernist styles; yet the original structure was awash with Spanish references. The architects got straight to work, stripping down the existing decor and ornamentation, and keeping just the structural bare bones – its timber skeleton.
From there, they rebuilt it with Californian Modernism in mind, and in particular, references to the famous Case Study Houses programme of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The internal gutting and reconfiguration also significantly increased the internal surface of the home, giving the architects the opportunity to redirect its vistas.
Now, the house turns its back slightly to the street and main entrance pathway, for privacy reasons, while opening up towards the LA skyline panorama beyond the rear of the plot. Richly landscaped outdoor spaces roll out from the house, seamlessly connecting inside and outside with paved terraces, a swimming pool and planting.
The residence spans three levels. The ground floor features all the main living spaces, including open-plan kitchen and dining spaces and several living rooms – such as formal and informal lounges and meeting rooms – that spill out to the al fresco sitting and entertainment area. A generous, modern staircase leads up to the top floor, which houses several private family and guest rooms, such as the bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and walk-in wardrobes. The basement is reserved for the spa and gym, while also including facilities and staff areas.
Combining all the mod-cons for contemporary living while offering a modernist feel rooted in the region’s architectural history, this residence has it all. Cosy family spaces and luxurious interiors are not forgotten, but it’s immersion in the surrounding landscape is impressive with open terraces offering residents views of the full Los Angeles cityscape, from Downtown to the mountains beyond Century City. §