The Skyline Residence by Belzberg Architects

March 21, 2009

Belzberg Architects designed the Skyline Residence, which is perched atop a ridgeline in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, California.

Visit the Belzberg Architects website – here.

Detailed description after the photos…


The project site exists along a steep ridgeline. Beyond the physical constraints typically associated with ridgeline projects, an opportunity presented itself by realizing viewing angles in comparison to solar angles.  Each had the capacity to compliment each other in order to maximize natural lighting and views without increasing future cooling demands. On the interior, a single-loaded corridor was created to act as a heat buffer between the glazing and the bedrooms.  In addition to deep shadowing eaves, a solar screen was created made of Extira, a low-formaldehyde emitting composite lumber.

Winds are created through the valleys on either side of the house and move linearly along the length of the house.  Oversized, hinged double-doors open on either side of the living room invite the prevailing winds to flow uninterrupted through the interior space. The corridor leading to the bedrooms open at either end, facilitating airflow past each room and openings from each room to the rear yard draw on the cool moving air from the corridor through the length of the house.

There was also a constant interest in reducing emissions resulting from the transportation and importation of materials, specifically those materials which are commonly used in bulk at construction sites.  While choosing eco-friendly furniture, fixtures and equipment is an obvious avenue to reducing energy consumption, the hidden elements of construction and structure were considered in this design as well.  Re-using the earth eliminated shipments of excavated earth out of the site and reduced the shipments of other decomposed materials into the site.  Local-manufactured low-e glazing, steel, CMU blocks, and indigenous aggregates support this initiative as well.  The remains of wood framing and flooring acquired from a nearby construction project were put to use in this project, and the landscape is comprised of low water consumption flora from a residence to be demolished in the area.

Both the main house and the guest house are enclosed by a single folded surface with infill glazing and screened walls.   The objective of such a strategy is to capitalize on framing extrinsic conditions and using the solid walls of the fold itself to affect the adjacent spaces.  The absence of one solid wall in each room also reveals the fold as a framing device.  The strategy for removing the guest house from the main house and including an auto court in between stems from the idea that complimenting forms which spatially could be perceived as once being united allow the interstitial space between a sense of connection, if only visual.  In this design, the faces resulting from a separation in form created areas for videos and films to be viewed.  The deck above the garage is now a gathering space for social events and a viewing platform for projections onto the Southern face of the guest house.  This interaction between the main house and the guest house utilizes a normally singular and stagnant space in the auto court and activates the solid surface of the fold through an engagement with the surrounding space.

Visit the Belzberg Architects website – here.