Bayview House: where the ocean begins
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Bayview House: where the ocean begins

A modern house for a young family by Hermosa Beach, LA

EYRC Architects

Bayview House: where the ocean begins
By Redazione The Plan -

Endless views of the Pacific Ocean, a place where fiery sunsets illuminate everything in sight, from the sand dunes to the palm trees as they move in the sea breeze – the scenery surrounding Bayview House enters the home from every window. An intelligent design by EYRC Architects has transformed the challenges of the lot into the strengths of the design of this residence for a young family.


A design reflecting the characteristics of the lot

The town of Hermosa Beach, in Los Angeles County, is somewhat hilly and slopes gently down towards the coast. A young family with two children decided to build their home on a sloping site directly overlooking the ocean, squeezed in between the neighboring homes, as well as vehicle and pedestrian streets on the east and west sides, respectively. Basing their design around the natural slope of the site, the architects created a shifting, staggered building that maximizes the views, encourages a life in connection with the outdoors, while also providing private spaces, such as a patio with a swimming pool.

"First and foremost the client wanted to create great family-oriented spaces – says Takashi Yanai, Partner and Residential Studio Director di EYRC Architects   that had access to light and air and most of all the view. There was also a request to create a sense of togetherness and indoor outdoor spaces but also create spaces of refuge and privacy. What made the solution challenging was the tightness of the site along with the steep topography. The program was distributed across four staggered and shifting levels. The unconventional layout afforded great opportunities for outdoor spaces not usually found in the neighborhood. At the same time it posed challenges for choreographing movement and vertical circulation". 

Bayview House - EYRC Architects © Matthew Millman, courtesy of EYRC Architects

From the driveway on the eastern side, the building appears to be on two levels, while from the pedestrian area, all four levels are visible. In terms of composition, the arrangement of the volumes and their exterior finish follow a functional logic so that each rectangular prism houses a different part of the house. These volumes are broken up by large full-height openings, arranged around the edges of the volumes to allow sweeping views over the surrounding landscape.


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Connection to outdoors without giving up privacy

The volumes and rooms unfold around three staircases, two inside and one outside that runs the entire length of the lot. The living area, in the eastern section, occupies the volume that overlooks the street entrance. On this floor there’s an office, the kitchen, and the dining room. A window that fills an entire wall establishes a connection to the terrace outside as far as the walkway, which extends to the other side of the lot and overlooks the living area, which in turn marks the edge of the garden. The walkway ends at another terrace with an outdoor fireplace, from where you can watch the sea or life as it unfolds inside the house and out on the patio. And the patio forms the heart of this home, a small enclosed space delineated by the surrounding volumes and leveled out to accommodate a small swimming pool. The family areas are on the second and third levels of the volume closest to the pedestrian street, where the master bedroom is also located, which has two bathrooms connected by a shared walk-in shower.

Bayview House - EYRC Architects © Matthew Millman, courtesy of EYRC Architects

The interior finishes are based on a contrasting monochromatic palette: black and more neutral colors are associated with painted metal and charred wood, inspired by the Japanese technique of shou sugi ban, combined with white plaster, washed concrete, and light wood in an interplay of contrasts that creates a mood of simple elegance. Finally, a small garden of sand dunes marks the edge of the property on the pedestrian side, its shapes and plant life offering a prelude to the magnificent Hermosa Beach a few yards further on.

"The interior finishes – says Takashi Yanai – were reduced to a simple yet dramatic and high contrast palette of mostly white, wood and striking blacks. The idea was to create sophisticated spaces that at the same time did not compete with the views and the vibrant family life within. Distinctions between indoor and outdoor spaces are dissolved with the use of glass panels that pocket away, transforming rooms into what are essentially covered outdoor spaces". 


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Location: Los Angeles (USA)
Architect: EYRC Architects
Client: Private
Area: 455 m2

Photography by Matthew Millman, courtesy of EYRC Architects

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