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Hillside house built for best view, lowest maintenance.

Hillside house built for best view, lowest maintenance

Silos in suburbia? Well, not exactly, but this Los Angeles house does make use of prefab silo walls in solving some of the problems presented by its difficult hillside building site.

The house sits on a steep infill lot in an older neighborhood at the east end of the Hollywood Hills. The owner, architect Mark Hall of Archiplan, wanted to maximize the view and minimize the maintenance necessary on the finished house.

He also wanted to have a little fun pushing the normal house-building formula with dramatically unconventional forms, materials, and construction techniques-- all on a modest budget.

Picture the house as two stacks of blocks stepping up the slope and flanking an arch-roofed central stairway. Hall built the basic modules 17 1/2 feet square--the minimum code requirement for two-car garages and the maximum span for 2-by-10 joists. Above the street-level garage on the right sit two bedrooms with the living room and deck above them. Cutting away less of the slope on the left, Hall began one level above the street and stacked another bedroom on top of the kitchen, dining room, and dining room deck.

Sections of two-piece galvanized steel silos --found at a farm supply yard--lie horizontally to form the high-tech barrel vaults spanning the central staircase, which serves as the focal point of the house. Other sections stand vertically at the left rear outside corner of the house; they surround the pop-out window bays for the kitchen and top-floor bedroom.

Visually tied to the corrugated silo material is the corrugated asbestos-board siding, which is not only maintenance-free but also fireproof--an important consideration given the brush-fire hazard in this location. Concrete block and poured concrete are the other main exterior materials used, making the house virtually noncombustible --clear to its Class A--rated built-up roof.

Inside, many of the construction materials were left exposed. Ceiling joists are visible in all rooms, giving the impression of bare-bones beamed ceilings. In the kitchen and top-floor bedroom, they radiate into the bays to create fan details.

Concrete-block bearing walls and steel seismic bracing were also left exposed, and openings in portions of stud walls create windows through the house.

A house with a skeleton this visible lays the craftsmanship out for all to see. In spite of the unusual materials and the open structure, the construction is quite refined. All exposed studs were carefully chosen, and the joinery throughout the house is high quality. Cabinetry, wall finishes, flooring, and furnishings are highlighted by juxtaposition with the unconventional finish detailing.

Photo: Clean, strong lines of exposed ceiling joists, corrugated siding on deck rail, cantilevered fireplace add drama to living room

Photo: Recurring curve of central vaults distinguishes hillside house

Photo: Three barrel vaults cover circulation core of house; all rooms flank the central staircase, which doubles back to reach upper bedroom. Cutaway walls expose studs, open views across stair

Photo: In cul-de-sac kitchen, cabinets follow curve of half-round bay window. Fanned ceiling joists rest on window-framing studs
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Oct 1, 1986
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