Palms House II
Category: up to $2.5 million in construction cost
Palms II in Venice, Calif., is a three-bedroom single-family house that transforms an earlier project, Palms I, into a family compound organized around a large courtyard. The project resulted from a decade-long collaboration between the design team and the client, and it responds to the organic growth of the family and the architects’ evolving design process. The new home uses conventional materials in unexpected ways to shape a livable, functional, and surprising home.
"The project offers a unique resolution to site organization and its relationship to an existing residence, creating a shared living complex that capitalizes on the adjacencies of indoor and outdoor spaces." - Jury Comment
The original renovation of Palms I was a modest addition to a two-story stucco box that is surrounded by a perforated metal scrim enclosing the home’s terraces and offering shading at the south-facing glazing. The owners purchased the lot next to Palm I to accommodate their extended family and turned to the team to create a building that is architecturally cohesive but distinguished from their residence. As the family grew, an intergenerational shuffle began. Palms House I is now the primary residence for one of the clients’ parents, and a garage studio is a home for the single parent of another. Palms II is where the original clients now live.
Outdoor space shared by the three buildings is the central organizing element, and a pool located on the property line allows the space to appear more prominent and equally shared between the structures. Palms II is built much like a podium with parallel concrete piers supporting a cast plinth comprising the floor for the upstairs bedrooms. The organization of the piers is such that it allows views through the house to the gardens outside. In addition, by using concrete for the floor, load-bearing walls and ceilings assist in stabilizing the temperature of the ground level allowing it to remain unconditioned during warmer months.
“The project offers a unique resolution to site organization and its relationship to an existing residence, creating a shared living complex that capitalizes on the adjacencies of indoor and outdoor spaces,” said the jury.
Given that the perforated material exterior of Palm I provides such a significant visual presence, the team opted for a different approach in the new house. Palm II’s exterior is clad in thermally modified hardwood siding, requiring no finish or maintenance.