merit award

Mar Vista

Architect: Woods + Dangaran

Project Location: Los Angeles, California

Photographer: Joe Fletcher

The façade of this home is modern and mysterious, an intimation of the spaces that lie beyond the solid privacy wall and the rhythm of the slender cedar louvers. The house capitalizes on its hilltop site with extensive al fresco living spaces and striking views from all rooms. Meticulously detailed and masterfully crafted, the natural materials palette of concrete, wood, and metal complements the setting and inspires the highly textural interior design.

“A handsome and elegant house utilizing a well rounded approach to design excellence.” – 2022 Design Awards Jury

Design for Integration

This home frames expansive views while placing emphasis on privacy and sophistication. Sequenced spaces carve out moments of serenity and transition. Louvers cast linear shadow through interior corridors and regulate the natural light. A curated and timeless palette is used throughout the home and will patina well over time. Energy efficient design strategies (such as water wise strategies, solar panels, and drought tolerant plantings) are seamlessly integrated into the design concept.

Design for Equitable Communities

The central concept of this home considers the history of the area, the west coast context, the design of the homes in the area, and the community itself. The residence takes optimal advantage of the sloping terrain, sunlight, and views, and to provide a private retreat for the occupants. A minimalistic exterior elevates the neighborhood context and promotes a serene atmosphere while still providing a glimpse at the home beyond the privacy wall. Exterior landscaping softens the exterior and promotes a lovely, walkable neighborhood.

Design for Ecosystems

Integrated landscape is essential to this home. Visible from nearly every room, all landscaping is primarily native or drought-tolerant plantings. Forming and L and looking inward, the property priorities outdoor space. Occupants can access or view greenery from every room – front, central and side yards make it simple. Along with a surround of hedges, the form of the home buffers the occupants against environmental noise from neighbors and the city. Floor to ceiling drapery and interior plaster also soften interior reverb and dampen noise in the heavily glazed hallways.

Design for Water

On a slight grade, stormwater is managed and collected on this site. While primarily native and low water use plantings are used in the landscaping, graywater is used for the irrigating needs that remain. The interior of the home is plumbed for future graywater use and low-flow fixtures are installed throughout.

Design for Economy

The owners of this home invested in a curated and timeless palette and a limited number of finish materials are used throughout the home. Materials used outdoors were selected so that they will wear or patina well over time – cedar louvers and siding, concrete, ipe wood decking, and plaster.

Design for Energy

To increase the energy efficiency of this home, we utilized many combined strategies. Radiant heat on both floors and passive cooling strategies – pocketing doors, louver and drapery shielded glazing – balance one another. Balanced, natural light eliminated the need for artificial lighting throughout most of the day. Solar panels provide electricity to the home, and solar hot water panels heat water for both the home and the pool. Rainwater is collected onsite to irrigate the plantings, though most are drought tolerant. The home is also plumbed for future graywater use.

Design for Well-being

The design supports physical and psychological wellbeing in a number of ways. A swimming pool, sport court (with a basketball hoop and a hockey goal), sauna, and a dog run encourage exercise. A healthy connection to nature is found throughout the home; from nearly every room one can see or step out to greenery. The fully-pocketing doors of the great room open to an outdoor dining room and herb garden and a backyard. The floors have radiant heat and every room has operable windows and drapery, giving occupants full control over their thermal comfort.

Design for Resources

Our primary strategy regarding resources was to simplify the palette throughout the home. All lumber on this project was all natural and zero-VOC in material and finish. Western red cedar was used in louvers, siding, and ceilings throughout the first floor. Casework, flooring, and plasters are also consistent from room to room. Materials selected – concrete, grey-stained cedar, stone – will have a long life and will patina well over the lifespan of the building.

Design for Change

Seismic activity poses the greatest risk to this site, and all structural and foundational elements were built to code with durable materials to mitigate this risk as much as possible. Survivable Strategies are handled by the homeowners regarding safety protocols and the use of water and food storage systems.

Design for Discovery

This project allowed for us to engage with new design techniques. Such as using rain screen detailing and utilizing plaster on both the exterior and interior. We also added new parapet detail, to make skylight flush with the roof, a new critical detail that we now incorporate into every project. These are small details that contribute to a clean and polished design. Walking through the home you’re going to feel the quality of this work and the attention to detail. These new approaches of craft have been shared and practiced among the firm.

AIA California
AIA California
AIA California is dedicated to serving its members, and uniting all architecture professionals in the design of a more just, equitable and resilient future through advocacy, education and political action. It celebrates more than 75 years of service and, today, is composed of more than 11,000 members across the state.

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