Kelly Residence is an exploration of balance: between solid vs. void, formal order vs. intimate grace, private vs. public, and stoic vs. playful, all relative to achieving a higher sense of spatial freedom within an architectural home.
Photograph by David Lena
The Architects divided the use of the spaces into public below (first floor) and private above (second floor). The house has a parents’ side and a children’s side, allowing each user their privacy and sound control, with an umbilical cord, given architectural form as a bridging element joining the two parts.
The Kelly Residence is divided into four “boxes”, each finished in white plaster, and raised on steel pilotis. Instead of being a complete four sided object each “box” has a missing side which is replaced by high-density wood panels coated with phenolic resin which are extruded upward from the first floor.
The notion of free facade is expressed with the nature of this façade’s materiality. The panels, manufactured by Trespa from sustainable products, are installed as a rain-screen. This façade is punctured with stainless steel inserts, further articulating the idea cladding panels are non load bearing.
Private bedrooms are up in the air, while on the ground floor large expansive openings allow the garden to “run” under the house. The interior spaces are oriented to maximize views from the house and draw the garden in. There is a strong design language of solid versus void and formal order versus amorphous patterning.
Le Corbusier’s five points of new architecture developed in 1927 are a loose influence for this project. They are examined and reinterpreted:
The pilotis: The private and more secluded bedrooms are up in the air far from the ground. The rooms on the ground floor all have large expansive openings allowing the garden to run under the house.
The roof garden: Southern California climate and expansive site negated the need for a roof garden. View to the garden from all rooms is paramount.
Free plan: The layout is not a slave to the supporting walls. Structural steel provides a free plan. The floors are no longer superimposed by partition walls. They are free. On the ground floor walls weave in and out of the pilotis.
The horizontal window: The horizontal window is one of the essential features of the house. Progress since Le Corbusier brings further liberation, and the corners are eroded completely.
The free façade: The columns on the ground floor allow the façade to be free of the structure. On the second floor, structural advancement allows the “Corbusier Box” as seen in Villa Savoy to be less rigid. Here the “box” is broken further and instead of being a complete four sided object it has a missing side which is replaced by the Trespa façade of the first floor that is extruded upward.
The notion of free faced is explored further with the nature of its materiality. Wood paneling is used to express the idea that the walls that it covers are not load bearing. To articulate this idea further, cut outs are sprinkled throughout the panels, many at the edges. Stainless steel panels are recessed into the wood, puncturing the solidity of the wood so that the wood cannot be perceived as being structural.
In addition to the thermal advantages provided by the rain screen, the house incorporates a number of other environmentally sensitive aspects designed to promote sustainability.
o Photovoltaic cells on the flat roof
o Artificial lawn in the front
o Grey water reclamation drip irrigation system
o Reflecting pond at the face of the glass wall to allow cool air circulation
o All energy-star rated appliances
o Coating on the skylights to cut down on heat/cooling loss (similar to window tinting on cars)
o Tank-less water heaters
o Zoned heating and air conditioning system, including a high efficiency unit in the master bedroom zone
All material, courtesy of the Architects.