Pittman Dowell Residence by Michael Maltzan Architecture
The house for an artistic couple is inspired by the interlocking arrangements of polygons and takes the form of a heptagon.
The project is a residence for two artists. Located 15 miles north of Los Angeles at the edge of Angeles forest, the site encompasses 6 acres of land originally planned as a hillside subdivision of houses designed by Richard Neutra. Three level pads were created but only one house was built, the 1952 Serulnic Residence. The current owners have over the years developed an extensive desert garden and outdoor pavilion on one of the unbuilt pads. The new residence, to be constructed on the last level area, is circumscribed by the sole winding road which ends at the Serulnic house. Five decades after the original house was constructed in this remote area, the city has grown around it and with it the visual and physical context has changed. In a similar way, the evolving contemporary needs of the artists required a new relationship between building and landscape that is more urban and contained.
Inspired by geometric arrangements of interlocking polygons, the new residence takes the form of a heptagonal figure whose purity is confounded by a series of intersecting diagonal slices though space. Bounded by an introverted exterior, living spaces unfold in a moiré of shifting perspectival frames from within and throughout the house. An irregularly shaped void caught within these intersections creates an outdoor room at the center whose edges blur into the adjoining living spaces. In this way, movement and visual relationships expand and contract to respond to centrifugal nature of the site and context.