Status: Completed 2015
Project Type: Residential
Building Type: New
Size: 13,900 sf
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Principal: Hagy Belzberg
Project Manager: David Cheung
Project Team: Dan Rentsch, Jennifer Wu, Chris Sanford, Barry Gartin, Susan Nwankpa, Brock DeSmit, Christopher Arntzen, Glenn Ginter, Andrew Kim, Ashley Coon
“The Tree Top Residence celebrates the site’s complex landscape, merging with it seamlessly and emerging from it atop the canopy of trees that surround it. Built along a natural ridgeline, the long and narrow plan of the three-story house mimics and inverts the angles of the site’s topography, creating dynamic vertical and horizontal relationships.
Vertically, an eccentrically-helical stair functions as a primary organizing element and a sculptural gesture upon entry into the house. On the ground floor, it acts as a threshold into the open plan; on the floor above, it separates the master suite and children’s quarter, while providing a light well to the basement. Horizontally, walls are used sparingly in favor of fluidly connected spaces. Movement and views between dining areas, kitchen, play and gathering spaces are uninterrupted, and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors blend the interior with the outside.
Hidden from the street, the residence is insulated from its neighbors, but open to its site. Canted limestone louvers, and dense planting on the north facade shield the interior from the closest adjacency. Conversely, the rest of the building opens to the site with floor-to-ceiling glazing, relying on both the house’s generous distance from the property line, and the densely wooded valley below to create a natural screen. The design culminates in the master bedroom, which features full-height sliding doors at its cantilevered corner. The orchestration of this view, overlooking a dense canopy of trees, embodies the intent to offer respite from the city below.”
Belzberg Architects has been located in the City of Santa Monica since its inception in 1997. The firm has earned over 48 national and local design awards including over 20 from the American Institute of Architects. Their work has been featured in over 200 publications throughout more than 25 countries including frequent features in notable periodicals such as Architectural Record, Interior Design, and the New York Times.
Belzberg Architects has been honored with the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Committee Design Honor Award and the Urban Land Institute recognized their design work and their contribution to excellence in urban planning. The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture recognized several of their projects with multiple notable American Architecture Awards.
In 2007, the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture, Canada featured their work at the Expanding Bodies Conference which focused on “digital sensing and interactive and responsive systems.” Subsequent international exhibitions included “Material Skills: The Future of Intelligent Materials” and “Transforming the Built Environment”, both of which “explored how digital fabrication can be integrated with existing design practices to improve the productivity and efficiency of construction and manufacturing.” As a result, their research and built work was featured in and on the cover of the book Innovation in Building Design + Manufacturing for “spanning the historical gap between thought and hand, between idea and materiality.”
In the past 10 years, Belzberg Architects has grown into a multi-faceted, professional design studio capable of producing large, and diverse sustainable building solutions and project types while maintaining a personal and intensive involvement with each project.
In 2013,the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles has chosen the work of Belzberg Architects to be included in their show “A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California”. This is the first extensive, scholarly examination of the radical forms that have become prolific in Southern California architecture during the past twenty-five years.