Dwell and Dan Brunn Architecture Take an Unconventional Approach With Bridge House

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By Jenny Xie / Published by Dwell
Presented by DBArchitecture
Embodying innovations in technology, architecture, and lifestyle, the 200-foot-long residence in Hancock Park, Los Angeles will span a brook that runs through the grounds.

Built in the elaborate style of the Italian Renaissance, the Breakers is no doubt an unlikely inspiration for the modern, efficient structures that define Dan Brunn Architecture. Nonetheless, it was a visit to the Vanderbilt family’s summer retreat in Newport, Rhode Island, that planted the seed for Bridge House, a new collaboration between Dan Brunn Architecture and Dwell that is now underway in Los Angeles. When completed, the innovative residence will stretch 200 feet across the grounds, straddling a brook in an architectural maneuver that gives the project its name.

"More than a modern statement, this home is exemplary of redefining family living." - Dan Brunn

Instead of a typical home that divides public and private space between levels, Bridge House uses the river as a natural demarcation between the two circulations. At the highest point over the river, an outdoor terrace doubles as the fulcrum of the building and provides a connection to the outdoors.

Instead of a typical home that divides public and private space between levels, Bridge House uses the river as a natural demarcation between the two circulations. At the highest point over the river, an outdoor terrace doubles as the fulcrum of the building and provides a connection to the outdoors.

When principal Dan Brunn purchased the property, he had intended to renovate the existing home, but he saw an opportunity to better engage the landscape after touring the Breakers. "One thing I loved was entering through the huge motor court," says Brunn. "Everything starts from the car." While designing a new entry, he realized that a system of 20-foot modules would allow the building to traverse the river instead of being biased toward the front of the lot. "You come in on an axis and have a glimpse of the whole side, and there’s a procession of entering the house," says Brunn. "It’s taking on more traditional aspects of design and reinterpreting them."

A defining attribute of Dan Brunn Architecture is responsiveness to the site. As Brunn describes, the firm's buildings express the "simplest solution to the biggest problem."

A defining attribute of Dan Brunn Architecture is responsiveness to the site. As Brunn describes, the firm's buildings express the "simplest solution to the biggest problem."

Bridge House marks a decade-long partnership between Dan Brunn Architecture and Dwell. "The Dwell audience is really in touch with not only cutting-edge design," describes Brunn, "but also livability and eco-friendliness." Contributing to the home’s forward-thinking design is BONE Structure, whose precise, modular steel system takes advantage of post-and-beam construction. Western Window Systems will outfit the space with solutions like the Series 600 Multi-Slide Window and a custom Series 980 Pivot Door, which boast thermally broken aluminum and dual-pane low-E glass. Finally, natural wood siding by Western Red Cedar Lumber Association and energy-efficient LED lighting by Legrand round out the progressive suite of products in the smart, sustainable home.

Having spent his childhood in Tel Aviv, Brunn grew up surrounded by Bauhaus architecture, and its principles of form following functionality is evident in his designs.

Having spent his childhood in Tel Aviv, Brunn grew up surrounded by Bauhaus architecture, and its principles of form following functionality is evident in his designs.

"More than a modern statement, this home is exemplary of redefining family living," says Brunn. "It’s a unique proposition in its connection to the site, and a true Californian house that is indoor and outdoor space."

Dwell is thrilled to undertake this collaborative build—stay tuned for updates as the steel infrastructure is delivered.

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