Climbing courtyard

Remodel achieves goals of preservation, expansion
"The house becomes a part of its site. It's really a landscape you can live in."
- jury comment

MERIT AWARD (remodel), Marmol Radziner + Associates, Santa Monica
The architects faced an ambitious program for this Santa Monica remodel: to preserve an existing historic clapboard cottage, protect the coast live oak trees and the sloping site, and expand the cottage (on the flat area at the bottom of the slope). The expansions were to include a new two-car garage, a kitchen, a dining room, two children's bedrooms, a guest room, and a master suite. Their solution is so successful that, as the homeowner remarked, "Friends have told us they didn't realize it was a remodel."

The overall strategy was to make the addition climb the hill and wrap around a large mature oak, the heart of a generous U-shaped dining courtyard. The garage was excavated into the lowest part of the slope, becoming part of the foundation for the addition. The new kitchen and dining area open to the courtyard, while the new master suite - at the top of the house and accessible across a small bridge - overlooks it.

Jurors applauded the way the materials and color palette reinforce connections to the setting: Earth-toned, board-formed concrete creates a rustic foundation that repeats the horizontal lines of the original clapboards, and clapboards covering the addition are painted a moss green to blend with the tree canopy. One juror concluded, "It's a wonderfully skillful response to the topography and architectural history of the site."

ARCHITECT: (310) 264-1814