Ehrlich Architects
Venice, United States
Project Year
Private Houses
@Erhard Pfeiffer

700 Palms Residence

Ehrlich Architects as Architects

This sustainable residence 1 km from the Pacific Ocean responds to the bohemian spirit of Venice, California, while maximizing volume, light, and privacy on a narrow lot. Raw, honest materials fit in with the grittiness of the local environment; the maintenance-free exterior of Cor-ten steel, Trex, copper, and stucco weathers naturally, while interior surfaces are left unpainted.

The house dissolves the barriers between indoors and out, creating flexible spaces that take advantage of the benign climate. Built on an urban infill lot, the compound’s orientation toward its lively neighborhood is friendly while garden courtyards afford privacy.

Space is calibrated within the house for maximum efficiency and dramatic impact. The low entrance explodes into the 5-meter-high main living/dining area. A glass bridge hung from narrow steel cables spans the volume, connecting two small second-story bedrooms with floating stairs to the master suite and study on the third floor.

The house is strikingly transformative, with large expanses of glass that open on three sides, with a combination of pivoting, sliding, and disappearing pocket doors. On sultry days the house, which has no air-conditioning, is a cool and breezy pavilion. A steel exoskelton is fitted with electrically-operated canvas shades that open and close to temper the sun and turn the pool court into a sheltering tent.

Radiant floors indoors and in the outdoor concrete platform heat efficiently, and roof photovoltaics harness the energy of California’s abundant sunshine. Water-efficient irrigation systems and drought-resistant plantings are installed in the courtyards.

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