Los Angeles, California / 2015

Located in Griffith Park, this private residence explores the container/contained relation in architecture, and what occurs when that relation is broken. What is it to be contained only partially by something else? Can something be a discrete thing and also be part of something else? What is the status of an interior space that has slipped to the exterior? How do you draw a plan of that?

A Box Full of Toys

In this project we specifically avoid subdividing mass into compartments, such as rooms and corridors, to focus instead on misfit spatial figures that are incongruous with—and even breach—their container. Figures exist half-inside and half-outside, in an altogether unsettled notion of containment. Silhouette is normally associated with a building’s outermost edge, yet when silhouettes overlap, they strangely migrate into a building’s interior. The stepping silhouette of the ‘ziggurat’ figures appear at one moment to define the container, and its inner formations the next. Glazed areas of the envelope provide glimpses of this problem of the wandering silhouette.

Glance-cutting Parts

In order to further confound the container/contained relation, a technique of glance-cutting is employed. Figures and their container are sliced simultaneously to produce a new compound figure from a non-whole set of parts. Nevertheless, this slicing operation results in strange joints that interfere with the legibility of the house as a unified entity.

An inner liner defines inhabitable areas in the house to visibly and subtly connect discrete parts on the interior. The strong “part-ness” of the house is crossed with this weak form of continuity, offering a possible alternative to contemporary models of part-to-whole relationships that favor total unity.

Ground is not treated as a receiver of building mass, but rather as a partially independent architectural figure. The mass-to-ground relation is thus also broken—or misfit, creating a difficulty in achieving a smooth ‘landing’.

Location: Los Angeles, California
Floor Area: 4,500 SF
Program: Residential