Tropolism Buildings: The Laurel Canyon House


Last year we visited The Laurel Canyon House, a project designed by Orenj (principals and friends of ours Mike Jacobs and Aaron Neubert) and completed late last year. The house is approached on zippy, hilly, and furiously trafficked Laural Canyon Boulevard; I turned into the driveway much the way one would in a stunt turn on an television car chase. Skid to a stop.


The house is a mute wall along the highway, mitigating its noise, presenting a blank stucco face to the road. One enters through the side of the house, around the blank wall, as if to turn one's attention away from the hectic nature of your near-death approach. Once inside, the house is breezily open, white, and oriented toward a dense thicket of woods improbably close to the road you were just on. The rear wall of the house is entirely glass, and because the ground slopes down from the road, the back of the house is high above a creek. You are living in the trees. The effect is nothing short of serene. At that moment, I lost interest in the house itself, and was captivated by the experience of watching the trees and the water.

Today's LA Times parallels my experience pretty well, as well as enumerating the challenges encountered while building on such a difficult site. Of interest is the trend toward sites like this: Los Angeles's version of "urban infill".


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