Architecture – “Los Angeles and Beverly Hills are highly modernized and developed. Their residences on the hills seemingly coexist with the urban environment. However, they also see enclosed movement at their core. The commune connection between the urban environment and nature is isolated.” Explains Ma Yansong, founder of Chinese firm MAD Architects which completed the Gardenhouse residential building, the studio’s first project in the USA, featuring 18 residential units above ground floor commercial space.
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“What new perspectives, and new value, can we bring to Los Angeles? Perhaps, we can create a hill in the urban context, so people can live on it and make it a village. This place will be half urban, half nature. This can offer an interesting response to Beverly Hills: a neighborhood which is often carefully organized and maintained, now with a witty, playful new resident.”Ma Yansong
The mixed-use scheme evokes the lush landscape of Beverly Hills. Upon completion, the scheme will host one of the largest living green walls in the USA, Indeed, the residential units “grow” from the building’s verdant facade covered in lush plantings of native, drought-tolerant succulents and vines, which do not require extra irrigation and maintenance.
Peaking above the landscaped envelope, a cluster of white façaded, irregular-shaped windows, and gabled-roof structures create a dynamic neighborhood, and a playful, witty, though simple homage to the iconic hillsides of Los Angeles.
The 4,460 sqm – 48,000 sqft – “hillside village” offers a variety of different housing typologies: two studios, eight condominiums, three townhouses and five villas. “This healthy mixture results in a high sense of community, and a feeling of individuality and exclusiveness even in this small-scale development.”
Unlike traditional apartment schemes, each unit has its own independent entry/exit circulation route, while almost every unit features a pitched-roof volume with dynamic interior expressions.
Enclosed by this cluster of white, pitched-roofed “houses”, the 2nd floor courtyard forms a central landscaped gathering space for the small community. With careful consideration given to the distance, orientation, and arrangement of balconies overlooking the courtyard, the result is a private, tranquil, convenient interaction between residents and the “secret garden” which they share.
Through the Gardenhouse residential building, MAD seeks to offer a rebuttal to the stereotypical cubic-box living environments of high-density cities across the world. An intrinsic connection with nature, with a tranquil, shared courtyard and private outdoor space for each unit, creates a calm oasis just meters away from the urban environment. “The result is a physical manifestation of the idea that architecture can connect with both the built and natural environment, to offer a more full, harmonious living experience.”
All photos Courtesy of MAD Architects.
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