Stiff Peaks

Stiff Peaks

Architect
Byben & Skeens
Location
Los Angeles, CA, USA | View Map
Project Year
2021
Category
Private Houses
Taiyo Watanabe
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
Bathroom TileHeath Ceramics
Doug FurJT windows
Facade claddingLaHabra Stucco
Engineered White OakMaxwell
Interior lightingYLighting

Product Spec Sheet
Bathroom Tile
Doug Fur
Facade cladding
Engineered White Oak
by Maxwell
Interior lighting

Stiff Peaks

Byben & Skeens as Architects

The client, a filmmaker and a poet, acquired an eclectically terraced hillside property abutting Elysian park in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The previous owner decorated the backyard in a lyrical antique style with circuitous crumbling stairs winding up the hill and a hand-made shack on the brink of collapse.

photo_credit Taiyo Watanabe
Taiyo Watanabe

Inspired by the whimsical setting, the client wanted to replace it with a writing studio and guest house that evoked the past but was firmly contemporary. ByBen & Skeens sought to create a multifunctional interior and exterior space that addressed the clients need for a solitary space for creation that let them feel both at home, and in another world.

photo_credit Taiyo Watanabe
Taiyo Watanabe

The 250sqft hut is situated midway up a steep hill just above the main house. The building is a single room and powder room surrounded by the curved wrapper of the exterior walls. To the west a full-length skylight illuminates the room, the light modulated and defused by a curved wall sweeping into the space below.

photo_credit Taiyo Watanabe
Taiyo Watanabe

The gently curving walls and fileted corners create a curvaceous interior with a hint of classic Hollywood deco. The arched windows and doors avoid views into the house to focus on the surrounding tress and sky creating a sense of escape and emersion in nature.

photo_credit Taiyo Watanabe
Taiyo Watanabe

A pair of French doors open to the exterior rehearsal area to the north while a single door provides a more discrete entrance accessible via a side entrance from the street. The two entrances allow the room to be used as a guest house and as a place for meetings with collaborators without accessing the main house.

photo_credit Taiyo Watanabe
Taiyo Watanabe

Emerging from the existing house at the lowest level of the hill, ByBen & Skeens placed an open wooden deck to provide a flat shaded space to enjoy morning coffee and yoga. Ascending the winding stairs brings you to an open space leading to the building's French door entry. To the east a set of tiered seating risers allows the open space to be used as a stage for rehearsing with actors.

photo_credit Olivia Hemaratanatorn
Olivia Hemaratanatorn

At the top level, stairs lead further into the forested hilltop or up to the top of the building. There, a sun deck is bound by the peaks and arches of the crown-like parapet of the building. Facing east the deck has an intimate interior feeling produced by the dappled light of a closely overhanging tree canopy while to the south and west it provides clear views of downtown LA and beyond. 

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Material Used:
1. Facade cladding: Stucco, LA habrá 
2. Flooring: Engineered White Oak, Maxwell
3. Doors: Doug Fur, JT windows and doors
4. Windows: Doug Fur, JT windows and doors
5. Roof deck Mangarus Hard wood 
6. Interior lighting: Y-lighting 
7. Bathroom Tile: Heath tile

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Project Credits
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