published: September 22, 2022 | Through: American luxury staff
Oxford Triangle House, Los Angeles, California. M Royce architecture.
“In Venice Beach, this architect’s house is a striking exception to the local vernacular. Set in a cramped triangular site, it draws from myriad international influences in its design while remaining true to its local roots as a Venice Beach home.
Located along a historic electric streetcar line that ran from 1905 to the mid-1950s on Oxford Avenue, just adjacent to the main thoroughfare of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, it nods to Venice’s past and present
Built primarily of industrial materials such as slab concrete, glass, and raw copper, it stands in stark contrast to the early 1900s Craftsman bungalows, mid-century farmhouse style, and post-war stucco homes that dot the area.
Much of the design was inspired by a trip to Iran in 2013. The city of Kashan is known for its grand villas with extensive basements. Each house has a room at the bottom of the basement that is filled with snow in winter. It wouldn’t even melt in summer so that would be their fridge. Each house has a water feature in a sunken courtyard to cool the breeze. On the way home via London, another source of inspiration became terraced houses. Almost all of them have a cellar and a small gap between the sidewalk and the house, and a small bridge. It was just enough to allow light to pour in through a pair of basement windows, amazing use of space rarely seen in California.
The front facade of the house can be opened completely to fully enjoy the Californian climate. The ground floor (which contains a living room and kitchen) is sunken 1 meter below ground and is surrounded by foliage, creating a high wall of greenery that provides a sense of privacy, despite there being streets on three sides of the site. An infinity pool that curves around the bow of the house and is flush with the floor adds even more tranquility. The pool’s water flows down to the basement level below, poetically connecting the two levels.
Details repeat the general dialogue between architecture and nature. The steel railings that accompany the main staircase were naturally rusted and patinated, the master bathroom has smoky plaster walls with similar colors, and the exterior concrete and copper have been deliberately left to weather and age.
A guest house behind it is designed to resemble a piece of driftwood. The wood we used to form the concrete of the main building was reused as the structure for the guest house. The material palette here is directly derived from the historic railway line. Built largely of wood and steel and utilizing a hydraulic aircraft hangar door, again hinting at the idea of bringing the outside in, the two-story guest house echoes the sculptural quality of the main house – two volumes standing together, embedded in a garden.
Photo credit: Matthew Royce, Sam Frost & Michael Reynolds