The clients, art collectors whose Bel Air home failed to take full advantage of the mild climate and visual impact of its hilltop location, approached the architects to design the “ultimate outdoor living space.” In order to maximize the possibilities for al fresco living, the garden pavilion had to be comfortable year-round by accommodating the variety of climactic conditions characteristic of Southern California. Integrating with the existing structures and grounds was also a priority.
The pavilion is poised on a steep slope to the rear of the three-story residence, designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates, and adjacent to pools and terraces displaying works of contemporary sculpture. Given that one of the aims of the project was to maximize the panoramas to the Pacific Ocean, the structure could not obscure sightlines from the existing living spaces. The pavilion’s careful positioning and subtle asymmetry responds to and frames these dramatic views.
In concept and fabrication, the pavilion takes its cue from automotive design: sheathed in a glossy steel skin, the room functions like a high-performance vehicle. Its sculptural form and sleek surfaces belie the internal complexity of its building systems; it is packed with high-tech amenities and components concealed by immaculate detailing. In order to provide effortless, year-round comfort, the room can adapt to changing weather—raising or lowering shades, maneuvering glass walls, activating heating and sound systems—via touchscreen control. The pavilion fluidly integrates natural beauty and technological sophistication—a unity heralded by its seamless surface condition.