rear window house
Location: Culver City, California
Photographer: Steve King
AIA Los Angeles Residential Architecture Award Citation 2017
The Rear Window house is a discreet yet decidedly modern addition + remodel to a seventy-year-old bungalow in a neighborhood abundant with intact dwellings of the same era. Through careful sequencing of new spaces and strategically located apertures, the project opens itself up to become deeply integrated with the rear garden.
While the existing house served admirably as a compact starter home for decades, the current owner’s growing family necessitated building a master suite extension into the backyard, consisting of a new laundry room, closet, library, master bedroom and bathroom. Positioning the addition parallel to the existing garage ensured a snug fit onsite and created an axial path between the buildings leading to the rear yard. To strengthen the connection between old and new, the addition maintains the 3:12 roof slope prevailing in the existing house and throughout the neighborhood. The new volume is entirely skinned with asphalt roofing shingles, which anchors the building to the vernacular materiality of the area while projecting a uniquely contemporary identity. A new covered back porch, concrete platform, and extruded window frames further the sense of horizontal extension into the backyard.
Existing interiors have been updated to be simple and bright, via new skylights, bleached oak floors, and white walls. The project culminates in the master bedroom’s expansive rear window, formed of aluminum-clad plate steel, which cantilevers above a pool of water. The window offers the intensely private experience of sleeping and awakening in nature, and at times the house feels a thousand miles from the city.