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Oxford Triangle


Venice, CA

Located on a tight triangular site and set along a historic electric streetcar line that ran from 1905 to the mid-1950s, the home’s design nods to Venice’s past and present. Constructed primarily from industrial materials such as board-formed concrete, glass, and raw copper, it stands in stark contrast to the early 20th century Craftsman bungalows and postwar stucco houses that proliferate the area. Sustainable features include solar electric panels, storage batteries and solar thermal vacuum tubes providing hot water for domestic use, radiant floor heating, and excess summer heat transferred into the pool. Power and hot water generation make this a net positive energy home.
For this triangle house, the design was inspired by a recent trip to Kashan, Iran. In this village nearly every home has a water feature in a sunken courtyard to cool the breezes. On the way home via London, another inspiration became vernacular row houses. Nearly all of them have a basement and a small gap between the sidewalk and the house, and a little bridge. It was just enough to bring light down into a few windows in the basement. In this design, space was carved out between the public sidewalk and the building. Everything above ground was about maximizing the living space, then below ground is where space is mixed with drawing down natural light and ocean breezes. Sunken three feet below ground, the ground floor is surrounded by foliage, creating a tall wall of greenery that offers a sense of privacy, despite there being streets on three sides of the site. The steel railings that accompany the main staircase were left to naturally rust and patinate, the main bathroom has smoky plaster walls with similar coloring, and the exterior concrete and copper are intentionally left to weather and age.

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