Many architects and designers were caught dead in their tracks when the recent economic downturn struck. Standard architecture in Los Angeles successfully powers through by taking sustainable action, cutting construction costs and preserving pre-existing materials in their Hidden House. “Hidden House is the perfect example of how incorporating an existing structure can actually be the key to a successful new design,” explains Jeffrey Allsbrook, Standard Principal and Co-Founder.
A young family wanted to build a new home with plenty of land for their children to grow up on — a challenging task indeed, especially in a city like Los Angeles. Standard took on the challenge, helped find four acres in Glassell Park and focused on a design that would satisfy the desired indoor/outdoor style living. The family purchased the site even though there was an already existing structure. Keeping to a strict budget, Standard managed to salvage and re-use 75 percent of the structure and existing materials.
The original 1,600 square-foot two-bedroom cottage became the living and dining spaces for Hidden House, now a 3,500 square-foot 3-bedroom plus office family home. Standard “re-skinned everything” to create a new cohesive design that incorporated an added kitchen, family room, office, garage, master bedroom suite and children’s bedroom. These new spaces are carefully arranged around the original floor plan in an irregular H-shape pattern that can be easily expanded to include additional rooms at a later date. Taking inspiration from its site, Hidden House is arranged around two main courtyards landscaped with native plants and vegetables. Pivoting doors in the main living spaces open up onto the courtyards providing expansive views of California paradise.
No need to worry – Hidden House doesn’t fall short when considering sustainable options for new materials either. Hidden House features redwood cladding, reclaimed engrain block wood, cork flooring and highly efficient appliances. The design allowing for a plentiful amount of natural light to enter, and excellent cross ventilation helps to reduce the need for energy-consuming hvac systems. The house is insulated with sustainable cotton and built to be solar-ready. “The materials are earthy, and made to look sympathetic and in harmony with the natural world.”
Standard’s Hidden House is a great example of a pragmatic future in sustainable design. There is no gimmick here, no marketing ploy — sustainability is not even the driving concept for this design. It is “green” because that is just what makes the most sense.
Images © Benny Chan / fotoworks