Some projects require a heavy duty solution and traditional methods just won't cut it. When David Hertz was asked to build a home right off the ocean in Venice Beach, he resorted to industrial materials to get the job done. Rather than the local standard stick-frame construction, Hertz used steel columns and beams to create a clear span structural system integrating prefabricated panels usually used in refrigeration buildings. The use of industrial materials not only cut down on cost but also maintained a high energy efficiency standard for the home while preserving critical views of the ocean and beach. It also doesn't hurt that there are solar panels and a pool on the roof.
Located on a 28 x 89 foot lot on the Ocean Front Walk in Venice Beach, the narrow home takes advantage of the entire lot. The three story, four bedroom home relies on natural ventilation and sea breezes for cooling. The structural system of recycled content steel beams and columns eliminates the need for interior load bearing walls and hallways provide views of the ocean all the way across the house. The exterior walls are made from 6-inch thick prefabricated industrial refrigeration walls installed by 2 men who lock the panels into place. No wood was used for framing or the structure and these 30 x 30 in prefab panels totally eliminated any waste and has an R-value of 48 for increased insulation.
The stairway is used as a chimney to help draw air up and out of the house, while skylights on the roof pull in natural daylighting inside. Aluminum louvers on the west side help shade the home from the afternoon sun while still allowing for views. A photovoltaic system on the roof with 14 panels provides 2.8 kW of power for the home, while solar hot water heaters provide hot water for hydronic heating and domestic hot water. Materials, like the concrete floors and aluminum exterior were chosen for their durability, longevity and need for little maintenance.