Michael Maltzan in California | The Plan
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Michael Maltzan in California

Michael Maltzan Architecture

Architecture in Los Angeles both exposes itself to an exterior world in flux and retreats to accommodate a human need for privacy, calm and a sense of protection. In this complex, expanded field, Architecture can be an inductive accumulation or assembly of component parts yet struggle to configure itself as an ideal object - Architecture, that is, as the singular icon. These are some of the dichotomies informing the intelligent, elegant work of LA-based Michael Maltzan. His buildings both relate to the outside world and instigate interior landscapes or microcosms.
Through scenography and editing, two Hollywood tools-of-the-trade, the Pittman Dowell Residence demonstrates such play or interplay of dualities in a unique setting. On a south-facing slope in La Crescenta north of Los Angeles, Lari Pittman and Roy Dowell, both painters, have lived for several years in the Serulnic Residence, a characteristic flat-roofed, mid-century construction by the great Richard Neutra of silver-painted posts and sliding glass walls, a domestic pavilion marked by lightness and transparency.
Pittman and Dowell’s new house sits lower on the generous hillside property. It can be spied from below, from the verdant suburban lawns of La Crescenta, as a monolithic white projectile open, via a terrace in antis, to the south. From the terrace of the Neutra house, a grassy ledge marked by a great Stone Pine, the new house presents itself as opaque and non-rectilinear. Its roof is literally a fifth façade, a polygonal disk of grey slate aggregate edged in the flat white parapets of the surrounding walls and incised with two skinny triangular voids. To one side, a carport canopy floats out from the retaining wall like a splayed Suprematist square.
Up close, each of the new pavilion’s seven exterior walls is unique: one entirely opaque rectangle; the protecting terrace; a ribbon window at chest height (a small homage to The International Style); a wall split by one elongated...

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