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Architect as Patron: Zajfen in Laguna Beach
SAH/SCC Tour & Talk
Saturday, July 26, 2014

Architect as Patron is heading to the beach! The series—which focuses on issues and opportunities that designers face when building their own homes—goes to Laguna Beach on July 26th. Join us to experience stunning views from the lyrical home created by L. Paul Zajfen, FAIA, RIBA. Nestled in a hillside, this sustainable house blurs the line between inside and outside, lifts one’s spirits, and connects you to nature, the ocean, and the sky.

Zajfen, a design principal at LA-based CO Architects, took a simple, volumetric approach to the design, exploring the transparency of the volumes, and how the building elements frame space and views that exploit the potential of the site. The steel-framed, multi-level home is broken into two masses, with the living room element pulled apart as a pavilion connected by a bridge to the kitchen/dining room element. Separating these two creates an outdoor courtyard surrounded by living spaces. The living room seen from the courtyard appears to be floating in space.

Designed to minimize energy consumption, the home’s large glass walls enable both natural lighting and ventilation, eliminating the need for artificial lighting (during the day) and cooling. All the west-facing window walls have sensor-controlled motorized exterior sunshades that block 86% of solar radiation, while maintaining views. Photovoltaic and solar hot water panels are located at the highest roof. The flat roofs are planted with succulents in a design pattern that connects them to the hillside contours when viewed from within.

The transparent layers of interior and exterior space create an atmosphere that evokes a sensation of spatial generosity, visual stimulus, and peace. “The house establishes a precedent in Laguna Beach for designing an appropriate, contextual, and sustainable dwelling,” says Zajfen. “Quite simply, it feels wonderful to be in this house.” Join us, and find out for yourself

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