Boundaries are blurred and expectations are exceeded in this 19,000-square-foot idyll in the hills of Los Angeles, California.
You may recognise the lofty, fluid forms of Mandeville Canyon from the cover of est magazine issue #43. Here, we take a deep dive into this standout project, showcasing its arresting beauty and reverence for the Californian landscape. ‘Think big, start small’ is the approach Los Angeles-based architecture firm Walker Workshop took; designing a home that’s both unpretentiously majestic and rustically refined.
The spirit of Mandeville Canyon is in its surroundings – in the rolling hills punctuated by desert fan palms, and coast live oaks – and in the gentle ocean breeze. These contextual cues bring to pass a ‘modern-rustic’ home, composing simple forms and stripped-down references to traditional American farmhouses.
In a city where the weather is warm almost all year round, the materials follow suit. Travertine, white oak, terracotta, and western red cedar, among other intrinsically warm materials, make up the DNA of Mandeville Canyon. “The goal was to keep the material palette simple and unadorned while also staying true to the home’s surroundings,” principal architect Noah Walker says.
The home’s upper floor contains three bedrooms and two home offices, while the lower floor sees the integration of several guest-rooms, a caretaker wing, a gym and a 75-feet indoor lap pool. Dining, living and kitchen spaces can also be found on this level, with views onto a second, much larger outdoor pool and a twenty-five thousand square-foot yard. “The culmination of these features makes for quite an enchanted living environment,” Noah says.
These spaces are arranged within an open-air floor plan, effectively dissolving the boundary between inside and outside. It helps, of course, that all the doors can be pocketed away to erase any traces of separation. There is an unspoken agreement between ‘the built’ and ‘the natural’, one where the former answers to the latter.
From the outset, Noah knew how special this project was going to be, but never did he expect it to be so globally recognised. No doubt, the home will go on to inspire other architects looking to pay homage to Californian shapes and vernaculars – all the while maintaining its outlier status.
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