DAVID HERTZ’ PANEL HOUSE
Constructing buildings with industrial detritus seems to be a trend of late. We recently covered LOT-EK’s airplane fuselage library, and a few months back you may have heard of the 747 Wing House — a Malibu home made from a dismantled Boeing 747-200 (see aircraft images after the jump).
The same architect who did the Wing House also designed another residence that was on the home tour circuit at this year’s CA Boom show. I’d been hearing about David Hertz Architects‘ Panel House for some time, so when I saw that it’d be open for viewing during CA Boom, I jumped on the bus.
Why is it called the Panel House? Because it’s made of prefabricated industrial refrigeration panels.
The panels are manufactured out of 6-inch thick foam skinned with thin sheet aluminum that is painted with a Kynar paint finish. The 6-inch thick panels are 30 inches wide x 30 feet tall and weigh less than a hundred pounds each…[they] orient vertically with an interlocking joint and are screwed to the closure plate at the floors. The panels are designed with a dull aluminum finish creating a surface that has a subtle reflectivity of the changing colors of the sky and sunsets.
The Panel House sits right on Venice beach, just steps from the ocean, and perched above the Venice boardwalk, a notoriously great place for people-watching (which will inevitably be a favorite pastime of the future residents of this mostly-glass dwelling). We entered from the back on the ground level, where an attendant was preparing to activate the sliding glass wall on the beachfront side of the building. The two-story window began sliding down along its worm drive gear system, so that by the time we’d climbed the stairs to the main floor, the entire western side of the house was wide open to the ocean breeze.
Two issues arise from having such a transparent west facing fa�ade, the need for increased privacy, and implementation of solar modulators. A system of aluminum louvers was designed to combat both issues, minimizing the solar gain and providing the desired privacy.
In addition to stairways, vertical circulation is addressed through the use of a glass pneumatic elevator. The elevator is the quickest and easiest access to the rooftop where there are photovoltaic panels, solar panels and a never-ending pool.
The pool didn’t actually appear to be “never-ending,” but the view of the Pacific certainly did…
The Panel House was an impressive place, even in its raw state. The entire structure feels like a mechanism for interaction with the elements –particularly in the use of passive and active solar and natural ventilation (not to mention the unique heat-storage benefits of heavy-duty refrigerator panels). The extreme outdoor living might not be too cozy on a foggy winter day in Venice, but on a clear day, the ability to eliminate the west wall or bask poolside on the roof doesn’t sound too bad at all.
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