Lee Jubas AIA
architecture and planning
818 S Broadway Suite 1000
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Playa Del Rey, CA
A 3-story custom modern home that can coexist in the scale and context of a southern California residential community while also expressing a modernist aesthetic. This east-facing entrance purposely lowers its presence so as not to overwhelm the its adjacent neighbors and allow others to it’s east continued views of the pacific ocean. I used the oceans horizon line as the genesis of horizontal lines seen in the wood fins on the garage surface then repeated as low relief’s expressed in the living rooms cast concrete structure.
Transparency and privacy are secured through using translucent glazing in the garage door and main entrance. The large cantilevered entrance canopy becomes an extension of the horizontal plane of the second floor, extruding out, pulling back and subtracting from, thus giving protection and allowing light to filter through using glass in an elliptical shaped opening. The circular second floor front wall pulls back away from the first floor and is again carved away with tall vertical fixed windows, allowing light through to the foyer from above.
Even the curving trellis is a remnant of this curving mass. And the concrete center ‘spine’ shows itself only in its thickness, but later reveals it’s purpose as one walks from foyer to main stairs to the buildings rear at all levels. This cast in place concrete structure becomes the organizational and structural element about which all is hinged.
Knowing that both the movement of people and cars on the street coupled with the ocean currents and waves that move in the distance, I decided to allow the wood fins to pass each other and overlap. The glass in the garage door panels should also address the water. The liquid-solid nature of glass could show this dappled affect like an impressionist painting by using textured glazing. The low lying concrete boxes serve as planters, partial retaining walls and screens. But the whole is more a composition of smaller modernist buildings laid out on a palette of green.
In the reduced front yard, I have tried to maintain natural surfaces such as the ‘grass-crete’ product used on the driveway which allows grass to grow in the spaces between a lattice of buried traffic-bearing structures of concrete or high strength plastic. As one approaches the front door, I introduced structural glass steps over running water over smooth river rock. This allows an initial experience of water as a theme. The water elements re-appear within the space and at the buildings west end both in built reflecting ponds, a spa and the finale of vistas to the ocean.
The back or west end of the home has simply ‘exploded’ to large open decks, framed openings and a final expression of a 3-story cast in place concrete center ‘spline’ wall. Here it becomes sculptural and is more likened to a ships bow or even a sail as it’s metaphor. Like gang planks, catwalks and sail supports, it contains the simple functions of stairway, vertical circulation, while using this large vertical plane to place the viewer at many levels to view the sea.
The ground plane, though landscaped with a simple surface of grass, could very well be the sea itself. ten foot high glass and wood center pivoting doors enclose the lowest levels outdoor room. The upper levels are full height fixed and operable glass to allow the sea in. And this 3 story verticality is but a hidden, private expression from the lower scaled street side.
An isometric view of the entire development shows the sloping site and how the home morphs from a lower form in it’s neighborhood context to one that evolves into a sculptural private expression moving towards the sea allowing the owner to move in all directions along an Escher image. At the very rear of the property is a partially submerged workshop built entirely of concrete retaining walls and concrete flat roof with cast out glass skylights. I thought of the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” when conjuring this concept.