When Los Angeles based Studio Nova A Architects was asked to design this stunning home in Culver City, they were in for a few surprises. A slew of unexpected factors, including a landslide, and the need for a complete redesign, might have stymied a lesser design firm. Although these changes dragged out the home’s building time, some out-of-the-box thinking still allowed the home to be completed under budget, as an eco-friendly, energy-efficient house. The contemporary, light-filled home is almost net-zero energy, and is built affordably, entirely with material from Home Depot.
After the former home’s backyard collapsed 80 feet downhill in a mudslide, the local government built four retaining walls into the property and the owners seized the opportunity to create a lean, green, sustainable home for their growing family. The challenges of the landscape were apparent from the beginning, but the unanticipated 2008 economic crisis rendered the original plans for the house financially impossible. Despite this turn of events, the studio was able to creatively re-budget, using only material from Home Depot, while keeping the form of the home unchanged and still sustainable.
The Culver City home utilizes passive solar design strategies to naturally maximize heat and light in the winter time, when it is needed, and minimize excessive heat in the summer when it is unwelcome, using carefully designed solar overhangs for shade, and strategic placement of windows and doors to minimize solar heat gain and increase natural ventilation. The low-maintenance stucco exterior helps to maintain a consistent temperature inside the house on warm and cool days.
Copious high-efficiency windows throughout the house not only offer up breathtaking views of West LA, Malibu, and the Santa Monica Mountains, but maximize daylight throughout the house, allowing the occupants to keep their electric lights off, and their electricity bill low. The strategically placed windows with heavy overhangs shade the windows when the sun is high in the sky (in the summer months), but allow ample light in during the winter when the sun is low in the sky. Sliding glass doors on upper levels help create natural ventilation in the house through the stack effect.
The house features an open plan, with a narrow layout, operable windows and several sets of glass doors to open the house to the exterior and allow for breezy natural ventilation.
South-facing solar panels on the minimally sloping roof offset most of the house’s energy needs making it close to net-zero energy, while abundant windows offer up breathtaking views of the Los Angeles basin.
Images via Eric Staudenmaier