This Los Angeles home designed by Olson Kundig opens out to views so spectacular, it’ll leave you gobsmacked
SEP 17, 2020 | By Aneesha Bhadri
Set against the rugged wild backdrop of Los Angeles, Collywood seems like a natural extension of the hillside. It overlooks the Sunset Strip and the City of Angels, surrounded by dramatic views stretching from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. The homeowner—a sportsman who enjoys outdoor adventure—wanted to maximise those views. So, this 15,600 sq ft home with its expansive decks does just that.
The modest entryway belies the thrilling spaces and views that await within. The main level contains the kitchen, dining and living areas, as well as one bedroom. Each of these sections spills onto balconies that offer breathtaking vistas. Window walls slide, pivot or completely retract to erase the border between indoors and outdoors.
The main terrace is an absolute delight, with a pool that overlooks a grove of olive trees and the city of Los Angeles. The upper floor includes the master suite, home gym and other private living quarters, with more decks and terraces. The lowest level is tucked into the hillside and houses the garage and additional space for the outdoorsy client’s hobbies, as well as extra bedrooms and another large patio.
“Collywood is all about extending the boundaries of the home environment to provide an expandable, flexible living space. The client enjoys hosting parties and wanted the home to be able to host large gatherings yet remain functional for himself and his family. So, we organised public and private spaces in concert with movable walls and connections to the outdoors to enable that,” says Tom Kundig, co-founder of Olson Kundig.
Collywood allows its inhabitants to engage with both the dense urban scene of Los Angeles and the stunning natural beauty of its environs. At the mere touch of a button, walls shift or even disappear, getting the most out of the south Californian climes. An operable shade system can be deployed to temper solar gain or, inversely, invite in an abundance of invigorating sunlight.
“This house navigates many different scales: the larger landscape of Los Angeles, while balancing entertainment and large group gatherings with the intimacy of daily living. I’m most excited about how the design intertwines these diverse scales and allows the client to expand or contract the space depending on changing needs,” says Jim Olson, co-founder of the design practice.
The material palette of the sprawling abode is predominantly glass, concrete, steel and wood. The neutral colour scheme, with the occasional bold pops of colour—like the red entry portal and artistic accents—holds its own against the home’s stunning backdrop. The house acts as a functional and comfortable space that graciously accommodates the needs and tendencies of its inhabitants.
The multistoreyed home also incorporates several sustainable features such as solar panels and a stormwater retention tank, as well as no-VOC or low-VOC materials and finishes that support a healthy interior environment. Supplementary touches such as radiant floor heating allow these spaces to remain in use during cooler weather too.
Throughout Collywood, the design encourages a plethora of experiences—open and intimate, indoor and outdoor, city and landscape, soirees and sanctuary. The decor, too, balances these experiences, providing a restful and human-scaled environment. One which can also transform to accommodate large gatherings and adventurous experiences. This hillside abode, with its immersive design, always has one toe tapped into the lively energy of the city and another ensconced in the wild refuge that is its home.