Elias Residence

Culver City

The modest budget of this project dictated a simple form. This, combined with the location of private rooms adjacent to the public way, led me to consider the exterior of the addition as a skin rather than a façade. A façade transmits an internal order. A skin, on the other hand, presents a barrier between public and private spaces that masks the interior function of the house. This idea is expressed in windows that align with the vertical siding and exterior corners of the addition rather than the interior spaces of the dwelling.

This master bedroom suite addition presented me with the opportunity to design a project that incorporates many sustainable or “green” design features:

Energy efficient design:

Due to the location of a hillside and retaining wall in the rear yard, the front of the existing dwelling presented the only viable location for the addition. To ensure some measure of privacy for the new master bedroom, the walk-through closet and bathroom were located nearest to the street. The location of these spaces, which have a western exposure, significantly reduces the amount of heat gain in the bedroom during the summer months. The location of windows high on the walls also increases privacy while acting as efficient vents. The overall arrangement of the windows, combined with the use of a ceiling fan, keeps the bedroom pleasantly cool during the warm months and allows beneficial solar heat gain during the cool winter.

Material use and selection:

The simple form of the addition employs a minimum of framing, and is finished in stucco and cement panels. The cement panels are made in part from recycled material and are recyclable. Stucco, consisting primarily of sand, is considered a sustainable material.

Resource Conservation:

Concentrated roof drainage is directed to a drywell in the front yard, where rainwater is retained for irrigation. Most of the front yard landscaping is drought-resistant or otherwise requires little water.