Culver City, CA | Sissach, CH
The Diamond house is a music studio extension to a house located deep in a canyon, set against a severely sloping hillside, with minimal access and little space upon which to build. Direct sunlight reaches the site for only a few hours a day. The geotechnical conditions on site were challenging, requiring 30-foot caissons to underpin new walls and foundations. A complex web of regulations governed the height, width, depth and specific configuration of the retaining walls needed to build the project.
Given these constraints, the extension is carefully positioned between the existing structure and an imposing hillside to inflect the landscape and create exterior programmatic spaces (firepit, terraces) around it. A series of wall planes fold up and over the building to create a rooftop railing and privacy for the sundeck.
The building material system was developed to relate the new extension to the natural landscape and also to reduce the visual scale of the building. The façade pattern was created from natural elements taken from the canyon site; abstracted, scaled and arrayed across the building in laser cut fiber cement panels. The panels impart a delicate quality to the otherwise hard edged and programmatically driven geometry of the building. Daylight brings out the etched lines and patterned edges of the cement panels, which in direct sunlight appear as thin as a ceramic vase. In the evenings the building appears more volumetric and crystalline. At night lighting from within the building also suggests the form of a perforated lantern, illuminating the canyon terraces.
Location: Santa Monica, California