Project: House Addition, Venice Beach, Florida Client: Gus and Stephanie Koven Architect: Francois Perrin, Air Architecture, Los Angeles, California Engineer: Gordon Polon, Santa Monica Contractor: Dante Cacace, Venice Beach Size: 700 square feet total Completion: Summer 2005
The house extension was designed according to the specific climatic conditions of its location, Coastal Southern California, and responding to a limited construction budget. The original structure, a 1913 California Bungalow, is located on a west facing lot a couple of blocks from the Pacific Ocean in Venice Beach. It had almost no connection to the large and lush backyard and remained cold and dark during the winter months. The owners wanted to expand their living space towards the garden using mostly green technologies (they operate a biodiesel operation for a network of friends in their backyard). A new volume designed following the solar envelope theory, in order to use passive solar heating and minimizing the cast shadows on the neighbors, intersects with the existing house creating a transitional space between the bungalow and the garden. The new volume hosts the bedroom which is extended by a new work out space on the garden’s edge, a new open-air bathroom with a sunken tub at the level of the outdoor deck and a large kitchen space with a central island. A radiant heated concrete floor is the new foundation for the house addition and is augmented by a redwood deck which associated with a set of large west facing sliding doors contributes to merge the indoor space with the outdoor area. A wooden frame structure creates the new volume and is left exposed on both sides through the use of steel x braces. This was done in order to bring more light in the new space. A plastic skin of thermal polycarbonate is cladding the structure and interacts with the sun, letting the low light of winter and reflecting the high sun of summer. The operable skylights on the roof are acting like wind chimneys, catching the afternoon breeze and releasing the summer heat. Built in furniture made of maple plywood are used throughout the extension adding to the integrated aspect of the house environment.
The volume designed for the house extension responds to the site conditions: the solar envelope is the geometric shape that takes advantage of the sun path for a natural energy gain through the use of passive solar heating. A concrete floor helps moderate the heat through its own thermal mass. The plastic skin of thermal polycarbonate interacts with the sun (rays go through during the winter and are reflected in the summer). A system of sliding doors, operable skylights and windows creates a natural cross ventilation taking advantage of the ocean’s breeze.