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House in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Design Group

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Victoria Carodine, Hanley Wood

Project Name

House in Los Angeles


2,000 sq. feet


Julianne Backmann and Eloy Torres


  • Claus Benjamin Freyinger
  • Andrew Holder
  • Trenman Yau
  • Morgan Starkey
  • Anthony Chu
  • Jon Rieke

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Winner of an honorable mention in the 2017 P/A Awards

“To have a ranch house where the roof isn’t obeying the plan of the house is a big deal. And with the use of color and the style of drawings, there’s some progressiveness in the representation of the idea as well.”
—juror Jennifer Bonner

The LADG took a client’s straightforward brief for a house addition—specifically, a freestanding carport that could double as an events space and a separate artists’ studio connected by an outdoor living room—as a green light to explore the relationship between walls and roofs in American domestic architecture, and particularly in the American ranch house. Instead of thinking of the walls and roof as two parts of the same whole, the LADG drew inspiration from Cliff May, the father of the California ranch house who worked extensively around Los Angeles and whose work often played with the intersection between vertical and horizontal lines. First, the Los Angeles–based team laid out a series of freestanding walls, drawing on a significant study of the site and existing ranch house, the history of the design typology, and the potential arrangements of the walls. On each volume, the concrete-slab floors and the wood-frame walls went up first; then the roof, which rests on its own supports and not on the walls themselves, went on top. This allowed the firm to place the roofs of each structure off-kilter to the lines of
the walls. The two buildings share a similar brief, but they are quite different on the ground: The carport (opposite bottom) is a simple L-shape, arranged to allow casual performances to unfold outside, with itself as the backdrop. The studio (below), which includes space for canvas storage and a darkroom, has four walls but none at a 90-degree angle with its neighbor—forcing the roof to sit at odds with what’s below it, and radicalizing the approach to those seemingly floating walls that May popularized in the region.

Project Credits
Project: House in Los Angeles, Los Angeles . Claus Benjamin Freyinger, Assoc. AIA, and Andrew Holder (design principals); William Adams, Lori Choi, Anthony Chu, Kenji Hattori, Thomas Pompeani, Jonathan Rieke, Morgan Starkey, Trenman Ya (design team)
Client: Julianne Backmann and Eloy Torres
Designer: The LADG, Los Angeles
General Contractor: Gustavo Diloretto
Structural Engineer: Kwesi Asamoah
Civil Engineer: KES Technologies
Size: 2,000 square feet
Cost: Withheld

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