Thoroughly modern villa...

Lehrer Architects completes the Canyon Residence in L.A.

by James 22 December 2010
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    Lehrer Architects conceived the Canyon Residence as a timeless and comfortably elegant agrarian villa in a distinctly modern tradition. Important to the clients was access to light, air, and views. The end result is a veritable 'encyclopedia of the modern villa' that blurs boundaries between indoor and outdoor and demonstrates play between transparencies and solids, de-materialising structural mass through abundant natural light and glass.

    Horizontal and vertical view slots are integrated throughout the house, as are sightlines to the entire property from every vantage point. Spectacular and at one with nature, the steel-frame structure is clad in smooth white stucco and expanses of sliding glass walls that literally open out to the garden and surrounding woods, and walkable skylights that visually open up to the sky. Driven by spatial clarity and informed by indoor /outdoor unities, the design exhibits intense horizontal /vertical rigour, with the grand-scale single-family residence organised around two planes: the horizontal plinth of the garden patio that extends the private garden into the living spaces of the ground floor, and the vertical spine that connects and organises the various parts of the building program.

    Spaces that abut and traverse the spine create openings within the wall, framing views and vistas of the site and garden. Inherently sustainable - even at 13,250 sq ft - Canyon House is flooded with natural light and fresh air through mostly passive systems. Due to the breezy local climate, the house needed no artificial air conditioning. For heating, a radiant floor system pumps under-surface tubing with hot water. Roof-top photovoltaic systems are projected to produce roughly 50% of power consumption requirements, including charging an electric Tesla motorcar and powering heavy sculpture workshop equipment.

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