Eric Owen Moss Architects Creates Surreal Family Home in Santa Monica Canyon

With an upside-down form that makes the most of a small plot.

Design
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Eric Owen Moss has worked alongside his own studio to create a new home for his family in Los Angeles, which is located in the Santa Monica Canyon, just a block away from the ocean. Named “A+M House”, the building takes on a distinctive form, which is narrow at the bottom and widens towards the top.

When it came to designing the Pacific Palisades home for himself and his teenage kids, Moss looked to the work of American designer John Entenza, who is widely recognized as one of the pioneers of Modernism. In the 1940s, Entenza founded a magazine named “Arts & Architecture”, which has been described as “acting like sunshine on West Coast architects” – giving a platform to some of today’s most notable names, from Richard Neutra to Frank Lloyd Wright. Through his magazine, Entenza began a program named “Case Study House”, which would see major architects of the day create experimental houses in the wake of the housing boom after World War II.

Moss said:

“The house is very much conceived in the intellectual spirit of discovery that originated with John Entenza’s Arts & Architecture Case Study Houses of the 1940s to the 1960s, with its affinity for new materials and construction techniques.

The difference in conceptual content, in this 2022 rendition, is that the A+M house belongs less to a shared confidence in form and shape and space and material types, and more to a personalized conception of contemporary architecture.”

To compensate for being on a relatively small plot of land, the architect designed the house to curve upwards, in a shape loosely inspired by that of a guitar. Its smooth, green-toned exterior sees corners develop from soft curves to pointed edges towards the top of the building, and its finish has been created through the use of an industrial coating that provides waterproofing to the structure’s wooden frame.

Inside, rooms are arranged over three stories. The central atrium of the house is flooded with light via a skylight, while floor-to-ceiling windows allow views over the neighborhood as you walk up the stairs. Highlights include a theatre room, which is bowl-shaped with integrated stadium-style seating, and a roof terrace that looks out onto the sea.

Take a look around the house above, and check out this new floating art gallery in the Netherlands, designed by Studio Ossidiana.

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