by STIRworldAug 13, 2020
Led by architect Ma Yansong, MAD Architects has completed Gardenhouse, a dynamic mixed use scheme comprising a cluster of 18 residential units above a commercial ground floor in Los Angeles. A landscaped living wall, the largest in the country according to MAD, wraps around the playful, sturdy structure at its base. Informed by gabled roofs perched on white facades with fun, irregular windows, the residences peek from the building’s vertical green wall and become an urban ‘hillside village’, referencing the lush landscape of Beverly Hills and paying homage to the iconic hillsides of LA.
“This defining green envelope is covered in lush plantings of native, drought-tolerant succulents and vines, whose familiarity to the local climate negates the need for extra irrigation and maintenance. The result is a unique texture forming an organic, natural, seasonal addition to the neighborhood streetscape,” explains the practice. Compared to traditional apartment and housing schemes, every Gardenhouse unit has been designed with its own entry and exit points, along with high pitched roofs and all white, airy interiors dressing each dwelling.
With almost seven years in the making, the hillside village welcomes residents via an entrance on the ground floor that adopts “the atmosphere of a cave digging into the hillside; a dim, surreal environment where residents are led on a journey through a ‘fairyland’ of light, shadow, and the sound of water. Further ahead, the softness of the cave meets a bright conclusion, with natural light flooding through a connected water feature from the courtyard patio above. Standing beneath this threshold, visitors marvel at a framed view of sun, sky, landscape, and water: a living painting removing people from the reality of the city,” inform MAD Architects.
Located at 8600 Wilshire Boulevard in California’s Beverly Hills, Gardenhouse is MAD’s first completed project in the USA. Built across 4,460 sqm, it presents a healthy mix of housing typologies in its three storeys - two studios, eight condominiums, three townhouses and five villas named Garden Flats Collection, Row Houses Collection and Sky Villas Collection.
Garden Flats are single-storey, open plan, three-bedroom apartments fitted with floor to ceiling windows that bring in the Californian sun, its private balconies and terraces opening up to an internal courtyard. Three expansive, three-storey homes comprise the Row House Collection, which has subterranean private garages. Gorgeous fireplaces, powder rooms, roomy private master suites, formal and informal living spaces along with upper level great rooms with chef’s kitchen and walk-in pantries add on to the luxury of the residential design. The upper levels host the Sky Villas, two-storey, three-bedroom penthouses filled with natural light, exuberantly high ceilings and exquisite views towards the city. Each Sky Villa features a private foyer with direct lift access from the lobby and the garage, with spacious, lavish Californian decor.
The second-floor row of houses encircle a central landscaped courtyard, a comfy gathering space for Gardenhouse’s small community. A glistening reflecting pool rests in this atrium’s centre, referencing the natural springs in Beverly Hills, mirroring the blue of the skies and the white dwellings and lush canopy of trees overlooking it. The overhanging balconies have been arranged with careful consideration to privacy and orientation, resulting in a calm, relaxing ‘secret garden’ that the residents all share.
“Through Gardenhouse, 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 fuller, harmonious living experience,” shares Dang Qun and Yosuke Hayano, partners in charge, MAD Architects.
“Los Angeles and Beverly Hills are highly modernised 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. 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 neighbourhood which is often carefully organised and maintained, now with a witty, playful new resident,” concludes Ma Yasong.
Location: Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, USA
Site Area: 2,400 sqm
Building Area: 4,460 sqm
Building Height: 18m
Year of completion: 2013 - 2020
Typology: Residential, Commercial
Architect: MAD Architects
Principal Partners in Charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
Associate Partners in Charge: Flora Lee, Dixon Lu
Design Team: Li Guangchong, Jon Kontuly, Joanna Tan, Chris Hung-Yu Chen, Wenshan Xie, Cesar D Pena Del Rey, Jeffrey Miner
Client: Palisades Capital Partners LLC
Executive Architect: Gruen Associates
Structural Engineer: John Labib + Associates (JLA)
MEP Engineer: Breen Engineering Inc.
Landscape Architect: Gruen Associates
Interior Design: Rottet Studio
Civil Engineering: Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
Green Wall Specialist: Seasons Landscape
General Constructor: DHC Builders, Inc.