Gardenhouse | MAD Architects

Gardenhouse

Located at 8600 Wilshire Boulevard in California’s Beverly Hills, “Gardenhouse” is a mixed-use scheme consisting of 18 residential units above ground-floor commercial space. Evoking the lush landscape of Beverly Hills, the scheme becomes a “hillside village” with residential units “growing” from the building’s living green wall. Peaking above the landscaped envelope, a cluster of white façaded, irregular-shaped windows and gabled-roof structures create a dynamic neighborhood, and a playful, witty, though simple homage to the iconic hillsides of Los Angeles.

Photography by © Nic Lehoux

Upon completion, the scheme will host one of the largest living green walls in the USA. This defining envelope is covered in lush plantings of native, drought-tolerant succulents and vines, whose familiarity with the local climate negates the need for extra irrigation and maintenance. The result is a unique texture forming an organic, natural, seasonal addition to the neighborhood streetscape.

The 4,460 sqm (48,000 sqft) “hillside village” offers a variety of different housing typologies: two studios, eight condominiums, three townhouses, and five villas. This healthy mixture results in a high sense of community, and a feeling of individuality and exclusiveness even in this small-scale development. Unlike traditional apartment schemes, each unit has its own independent entry/exit circulation route, while almost every unit features a pitched-roof volume with dynamic interior expressions.

Photography by © Darren Bradley

Enclosed by this cluster of white, pitched-roofed “houses”, the 2nd-floor courtyard forms a central landscaped gathering space for the small community. With careful consideration given to the distance, orientation, and arrangement of balconies overlooking the courtyard, the result is a private, tranquil, convenient interaction between residents and the “secret garden” which they share.

Residents of “Gardenhouse” are welcomed via a ground-floor entrance along Stanley Drive, off Wilshire Boulevard. The entrance adopts the atmosphere of a cave digging into the hillside; a dim, surreal environment where residents are led on a journey through a “fairyland” of light, shadow, and the sound of water.  Further ahead, the softness of the cave meets a bright conclusion, with natural light flooding through a connected water feature from the courtyard patio above. Standing beneath this threshold, visitors marvel at a framed view of the sun, sky, landscape, and water: a living painting removing people from the reality of the city.

Photography by © Nic Lehoux

Through “Gardenhouse,” MAD seeks to offer a rebuttal to the stereotypical cubic-box living environments of high-density cities across the world. An intrinsic connection with nature, with a tranquil, shared courtyard, and private outdoor space for each unit, create a calm oasis just meters away from the urban environment. The result is a physical manifestation of the idea that architecture can connect with both the built and natural environment, to offer a more full, harmonious living experience.

Photography by © Darren Bradley

Project Info:
Architects: MAD Architects
Location: Los Angeles,United States
Area: 4460 m²
Project Year: 2020
Photographs: Nic Lehoux, Darren Bradley, Manolo Langis

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