RO54 is a split-level modern home perched on a Bel-Air hilltop. But this is not what your mind probably conjures when you think of a split-level home. RO54 by Arshia Architects is a dreamy façade of floating glass with view of the Pacific Ocean, designed in layers to allow a gradual ascent to the top of the roof with little effort.

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A two story home with an outdoor deck overlooks a valley range

Located in Los Angeles, California, this sustainable home features a central “void” using bridging stairs. This allows natural light to connect to the lowest levels of the building without wasting electricity. The basement is below grade with a courtyard between lower bedrooms to pull light all the way down into the basement level.

Related: The first home in California to be Zero Carbon certified

An outdoor pool leads into an open wall to the living room

An automotive-inspired monocoque shell wraps around the body of the house in a sleek one-piece look that hugs the topography of the site. To break up the blocky appearance and reduce visual impact of the three-story building, the basement is concealed as a vegetated plinth. Landscaping uses tree canopy coverage for visual privacy.

A living room space with white sofas

Arshia Architects aimed for spatial quality to amend the neighboring area’s reliance on sizeable homes to balance with the neighborhood proportionally. Each story of the house is connected at half-floor levels to make use of the space that would otherwise be compartmentalized in this configuration.

A living room area with black sofas and a staircase

What we love about this house besides its expert use of limited horizontal space is the buried podium that acts as a rainwater runoff filtration system for the site. RO54 meets and/or exceeds California green building and energy conservation standards. This includes low-flow plumbing, drought tolerant plants, rainwater filtration, photovoltaic integration for solar, high-efficiency building envelope and glazing to reduce energy use. Furthermore, HERS rated mechanical system and many more special features make up this unique home.

A bedroom with windows surrounding it

Interior materials include low VOC mica plaster, hardwood flooring and natural stone for their minimalist aesthetic, low impact and durable materials. The goal achieved here was a balance between durability, low maintenance and sustainable design.

The home has already won 18 international design awards, including the AMP Architecture Masterprize 2022, Global Future Design Awards 2022 and UDAD’s Urban Design and Architecture Design Awards 2022. This 6,774 square feet gem sits on a small 120 by 85 foot lot by using structural steel with some light gauge steel framing infill and wood joist framing over concrete retaining wall foundation with integral pigment (graphite iron oxide) finish. The exterior shell is made of CNC milled high-density urethane (HDU) boards coated in mineral plaster.

+ Arshia Architects

Images via Paul Vu, Renee Parkhurst and Yuheng Huang