About the project
SAOTA’s Hillside home in Los Angeles is located immediately above Sunset Boulevard on a promontory just one over from Pierre Koenig’s landmark Stahl House. Spread over a 20,000 square foot estate, featuring 300-degree views over the LA skyline and the city basin below, this home was intended to be more of a self-contained oasis rather than a conventional house.
The forms and articulation of its roof planes were pushed as far forward as possible so that they could create meaningful external covered living spaces. Wraparound perimeter views necessitated the carefully controlled placement of solid walls and extensive use of glass to maximise the panoramic potential of the site. Consequently, the architecture is defined through the floating, overlapping horizontal floor and roof plates curating specific view axes rather than mass walls or external structure. The steep approach from below resulted in a dramatic entrance through a top-lit central atrium – rising via a 12-car underground garage and an indoor waterfall cascading into a courtyard before surfacing into the centre of the living level with a direct and dramatic view of LA. The largely open-plan interior, in the absence of mass walls, has been articulated vertically and through volumetric changes to rationalise the layout.
References to modernist construction techniques are picked up in the articulation of the steel columns and the sensuous and tactile use of timber and limestone on the floors and wall, which is carried extensively throughout the interior and exterior detailing. Some of the identifying features, such as the cut-outs in the roof, have been reprised in the detailing of the interior ceilings to add interest.
This home was conceived as a series of living rooms connected to extensive covered outdoor terraces. These outdoor spaces are in turn enclosed by a vast undulating infinity pool and lush landscaping along the perimeter, subtly screening neighbouring properties (and ensuring their privacy) with climbing ficus trees. The generous allocation of outdoor space maximises the potential of the liveable climate, reconnecting contemporary LA architecture with a somewhat lost aspect of its modernist heritage.