From Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

The design of the 700 Palms Residence maximizes volume, light, and privacy on a narrow lot within the eclectic neighborhood of Venice, a half mile from the Pacific Ocean. The house dissolves the barriers between indoors and out, creating flexible spaces that take advantage of the benign weather. Built on an urban infill lot, the compound’s orientation toward its lively walking neighborhood is friendly while garden courtyards afford privacy.

The design takes full advantage of the local climate including a highly efficient building envelope, radiant heating floors, and solar thermal energy that are utilized for space heating and domestic hot water. The house also relies on natural ventilation, thermal mass and operable shading to eliminate mechanical cooling. Raw, honest materials are used throughout; the maintenance-free exterior of Corten steel, Trex, copper, and stucco weathers naturally, while interior surfaces are left unpainted. Exterior sunshades on an exoskeleton of steel control the heat gain from the Southwestern exposure.

Three garden courtyards embrace specimen pines and offer moments of privacy to the occupants. The overall massing maximizes volume and natural light, yet displays sensitivity of scale to the surrounding neighborhood. Flexible, transformative spaces were created through the use of extensive operable glass doors. The 16-foot high living-dining area opens on three sides: to a lap pool via sliding glass doors; to a private courtyard via pocketing glass doors; and to the garden and guest house via pivoting glass doors. When open to the elements, this central zone is transformed into an airy pavilion.