This “Openhouse” residence is embedded into a sharply sloping hillside property in Hollywood, a challenging site that led to the creation of a house that is both integrated into nature and open to the city beyond. The residence showcases brilliant minimalistic architectural design by XTEN Architecture. All photography by Art Gray
The structure and detailing of the house is more complex than it appears. Extensive grading and terraced retaining walls were developed to extend the first floor living level into the hillside and to create a garden terraces on each level.
Steel beams were set perpendicular to and into the hillside to achieve the backspans necessary for the large cantilevers at the front of the building. Lateral steel clear spans fifty feet between these beams to create double cantilevers at the leading edge of the house and uninterrupted cinematic views over the city.
Front, side and rear elevations of the house slide open to erase all boundaries between indoors and out and connect the spaces to gardens and terraces on three levels.
Glass, in various renditions, is the primary wall enclosure material. There are forty-four floor-to-ceiling sliding glass panels, each run of which is configured to disappear into hidden pockets or to slide beyond the building perimeter.
Deep overhangs serve as solar protection for the double-pane glazing and become progressively larger as the main elevation of the building follows the hillside contours from Eastern to Southwestern exposure. Every elevation of the house opens to capture the prevailing breezes to passively ventilate and cool the house.
Glass in the form of fixed clear panels, mirror plate walls and sandblasted mirror panels lend lightness to the interior spaces. These glass walls are visually counterweighted by sculptural, solid elements in the house.
The fireplace is made of dry stacked granite, which continues as a vertical structural element from the living room floor through the second story. The main stair is charcoal concrete cantilevered from a structural steel tube.
Service and secondary spaces are clad in floor to ceiling rift oak panels with flush concealed doors. Several interior walls are dark stucco, an exterior material that wraps into the house.
Set in a visible hillside area above the city, the residence appears as a strong sculptural form developed at the scale of the large site. The logic of the architecture is developed directly from these site conditions: the building follows the site contours, the interior spaces extend to embrace nature and nature extends into and throughout the house.
The use of cut pebble flooring throughout the house, decks and terraces continues the indoor-outdoor materiality, which is amplified when the glass walls slide away. The building finishes are few in number but applied in a multiplicity of ways throughout the project, furthering the experience of continuous spaces from interior to exterior.