Mithila Jagtap

Mithila Jagtap

San Francisco, CA, US


Backyard Nooks


This project is called the Backyard Nooks. It investigates a radical way to combine temporary living and work space informed by the culture and context of Los Angeles.The project transforms the neglected back lots of homes into social hubs. Temporarily hosting 4-6 people in the living and studio space serving as a retreat for writers. This dwelling has a system of nooks, stairs, landings and sleeping lofts which create variation between public and private spaces.One of the crucial drivers of the design is the component of a stair. 


The stair’s risers and treads vary between bent steel and plywood with pockets to merge the materials. The teeth like graphic and spacing are designed for easy manipulation of the steel. The pocketing of wood and steel is achieved through the CNC milling process. Zooming out on a tectonic scale, the stair design is informed by the program of the space, taking on additional forms and functions such as: seating, book shelves, and breakfast table.The tectonic system is curated to fit the users needs, proving it’s adaptability and flexibility. 


The concept of the ‘nook’ is inspired by the Winton Guest House, by Frank Gehry. The precedent has an unusual staircase with an embedded nook that is suspended under the staircase which is inaccessible. Learning from the precedent we incorporated inhabitable nooks in our project as private/works paces which can be seen in the section perspective.The nooks are the primary organization for the project. A series of rotated nooks function as private works paces for writers and as the structural support for the project.Utilizing a prefabricated CLT system, the project emphasizes variation through material thickness changes.The nooks have carved reveals and pockets which produce windows to let light in. 


the sleeping loft has a perforated wrap to produce elegant lighting effects. Visual continuity is accomplished through perforations, glass facade, timber canopy, and reveals in the floor plate.This also reinforces the blending of interior and exterior spaces, learning from Richard Neutra's VDL Research House.


`Looking at the ground floor plan. The project spans across two lots. Nooks are private and the rest is public. The 45 degree rotation in plan give directionality to the programs, producing micro centers, and spaces that point outward. The users can enter the project from the alleyway, choosing to explore the ground floor which is exterior. On this floor the main programs include the library, story time space, and publication office.On the next level, there are more social programs such as breakfast room,kitchen, meditation space and refreshment bar. On the roof is the sleeping lofts, and procrastination patio. Backyard Nooks provide a unique living experience connecting the users to the LA neighborhood.  


The assembly of the building is efficient with its use of simple components of stainless steel staircase and prefabricated Cross Laminated Timber system. Two flat bed trucks will carry all the material that is required to build the project.


In conclusion this project runs across two neglected back lots and this economical prefabricated home is ideal for warm weather best situated for L.A. with maximum outdoor spaces by having a good balance between public and private spaces in a communal setting. 

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Status: School Project
Location: San Francisco, CA, US
My Role: Designing architecture spaces, 3D Modelling, 2D drawings, process
Additional Credits: Project in collaboration with Valeriya Velyka