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Redelco Residence, Studio City, California, United States

Monday 25 Jul 2011

Footprints of the past

All images courtesy of BROOKS + SCARPA 
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Architects redesign a new home on the foundations of a house abandoned seven years earlier 

Faced with the challenge of designing a new home on the footprint of a partially constructed residence abandoned seven years earlier, the architects created an airy pavilion-like structure which allowed the client to take advantage of a restricted building area while capturing extraordinary views.

At the start of 1994, Brooks + Scarpa Architects lay the foundations of the Redelco Residence in Studio City, California. Demolition and grading got underway to remodel and extend a 1970's ranch style house, only to be abruptly halted by the owner, due to circumstances beyond his control. After seven long years, the client returned to the architects and asked them to complete the partially constructed house. However, due to code changes, city ordinances and a wide variety of obstacles including current zoning and structural codes it was determined that the house was unable to be completed as originally designed.

After much consideration the client asked the architects if it would be possible to alter the partially constructed house whilst keeping the house's footprint and partially constructed foundations the same to avoid the need for further entitlements and delays on an already long overdue and difficult hillside site.

The architects' were faced with the challenge of how to alter the design that reflected an outdated philosophical approach to architecture that was nearly a decade old. Brooks + Scarpa asked themselves the question: How could the house be re-conceived reflecting the architect and client's maturity on a ten-year-old footprint?

Their answer was to remove almost all of the previously proposed existing interior walls and transform the existing footprint into a pavilion-like structure that allows the site to, in a sense, blur the boundaries of interior and exterior spaces. This idea enabled the client to take advantage of a limited and restricted building area whilst capturing extraordinary panoramic views of the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood Hills.

The main feature to allow the interior and exterior to become one was the instillation of large 22ft-high custom sliding glass doors and limestone floors extending from inside to outside and into the lap pool that runs the entire length of the house creating a horizon line at the edge of the view. Other natural materials such as board formed concrete, copper, steel and cherry provided softness to the objects that seem to float within the interior volume. By placing objects and materials ‘outside the frame', a new frame of reference deepened the sense of perception. The architects were of the opinion that ‘art does not reproduce what we see; rather it makes us see'.

To link the separate studio to the house Brooks + Scarpa added an exterior bridge; an effective way to link the interior and exterior areas which didn't touch the footprint of the building. Private spaces were treated as loft-like spaces capturing volume and views while maintaining privacy.

Elena Collins

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
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Brooks + Scarpa

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