Pittman Dowell Residence

Page Tools

Pittman Dowell Residence | Notes of Interest

North of Los Angeles at the edge of Angeles National Forest, the residence is sited on 6 acres originally planned as a Richard Neutra designed development. Although three pads were cleared, only one home was built. The current owners, who own the original Neutra home, have developed a desert garden on one of the clearings. The new home sits on the last clearing.

Five decades after the original house was constructed, the site’s visual and physical context has changed dramatically. Similarly, the contemporary needs of the artist residents required a new relationship between building and landscape.

Inspired by geometric arrangements of interlocking polygons, the home is a heptagonal figure whose purity is confounded by a series of intersecting slices. Bounded by an introverted exterior, living spaces unfold in a moiré of shifting perspectival frames. Movement and visual relationships expand and contract to respond to the centrifugal nature of the site and context. An irregularly shaped void defined by these intersections creates an outdoor room whose edges blur into the adjoining spaces.

Additional Credit

Arborist: Robert W. Wallace
Engineer: B.W. Smith Structural Engineers, Paller-Roberts Engineering, Inc., The J Byer Group
General Contractor: Asterisk, Inc.

Photo Credit

© Iwan Baan

Pittman Dowell Residence

Jury Comments

The house acts like an optical instrument with staged views of the surrounding landscape including spectacular views of the valley below and the hills above.

The clear concise presentation of details and the theatrically arranged spaces constitute a sublime and poetic expression and push the boundaries of what a house can be.

2012 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Jury

  • Rod Kruse, FAIA, Chair
  • BNIM Architects
  • Des Moines
  • Barbara White Bryson, FAIA
  • Rice University
  • Houston
  • Annie Chu, AIA
  • Chu & Gooding Architects
  • Los Angeles
  • Dima Daimi, Assoc. AIA
  • Rossetti
  • Farmington Hills, Michigan
  • Harry J. Hunderman, FAIA
  • Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
  • Northbrook, Illinois
  • Scott Lindenau, FAIA
  • Studio B Architects
  • Aspen, Colorado
  • Kirsten R. Murray, AIA
  • Olson Kundig Architects
  • Seattle
  • Thomas M. Phifer, FAIA
  • Thomas Phifer & Partners
  • New York City
  • Seth H. Wentz, AIA
  • LSC Design, Inc.
  • York, Pennsylvania

Footer Navigation

Copyright & Privacy

  • © The American Institute of Architects
  • Privacy