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SKY HOUSE

Los Angeles, California / 2021


SKY HOUSE

This project is a renovation of Architect Angelo Cacciola’s spectacular 9369 Flicker Way house, built in 1989 in the “bird streets” above Sunset Boulevard. Our design retains many of the original features of the original-- its openness and the way it is perched on the hilltop-- but it injects surprising new elements, creating an entirely new silhouette against the sky, and situating the project within a new ecological imperative.

A giant solar roof lands on top of the house to create a shaded microclimate beneath. We call this roof an Earth Protector, referring to its kindness to the earth and to the inhabitants below. The solar array contains 50 commercial grade solar PVs, normally used for solar fields outside the city, tilted up to create a sawtooth profile in the building’s elevation. This array produces 3.6 MWh/year of power, making it 360% energy positive, enough power for four homes of this size. The house therefore does not draw power from the city, but rather feeds power into it, revealing a new model for sustainability based on excess rather than lack.

Underside of the roof becomes a surface for video art projection, like a glittery horizontal painting, visible far away from Sunset Boulevard. A vortex stair spirals down from the roof, replacing the circulation of the historic house, connecting all levels with deep diagonal views across the space and out to the city through glass. A new office-- the owner’s “control bridge”-- is tucked between the roof and the existing balconies, featuring commanding, 300 degree views of the city.

The uniform stucco façade is replaced with a patchy envelope of white-on-white panels punctured by long, horizontal bands of glass. Panels switch from flat to deep relief and from gloss to matte, creating a mottled, future/ancient effect, reminiscent of the great Los Angeles textile block houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. Panels with deep relief are arranged along key edges and rooflines of the house, emphasizing the profile of the house, but they also collect in dark spaces, under balconies, and under overhangs like fake shadows from an alternate LA sun.



Location: Los Angeles, California
Program: Single Family Residence
Client: Tom Buttgenbach
Client Rep: Charlie Patton
Structural: Nous Engineering
Civil Engineering: LC Engineering Group
Geotechnical Engineer: Ralph Stone and Company
Land Surveyor: M & M & CO.
Plan Expediter: Pacific Crest Consultants
Title 24 Energy Compliance: Newton Energy
Solar Energy Consultant: ANCA Solar


Principal: Tom Wiscombe
Associate: Dionicio Valdez
Project Manager: Dylan Weiser
Project Designers: Jack Wang, Sarangan Sinnarajah
Project Team: Sam Flower, Jose Garcia, Mahyar Naghshvar, Maria Sofia Garcia, Andrew Spiller, Nick Houser