Morris House by Martin Fenlon Architecture
The Highland Park area of Los Angeles, California is the home to a project by Martin Fenlon Architecture.
The Morris House is actually a renovation and addition project to an already existing ranch house. One of the best features of the existing homes was the beautiful view that it provided thanks to its placement on a down-sloping lot and that was the point that also defines the renovation and addition. One of the main goals was to maximize light and space while remaining within the limited budget, so there was quite a lot of improvisation during the design.
This project, located in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles, consists of an addition and renovation to an existing ranch house situated on a gently down-sloping lot with an exceptional view.
With the goal of maximizing light and space on a limited budget, the design was developed and modified in an improvisational manner by the architect and the owners over the course of construction.
The living, dining, and master bedroom and bathroom areas were extended out from the back of the existing house within a contrasting wood-clad addition, forming a new carport underneath.
The newly extended spaces have floor to ceiling glass walls, which let in an abundance of natural light and frame the expansive view. The roof of the main living space is punctured by a centrally placed skylight (reminiscent of ancient Roman compluvia, a centrally placed opening in the roof that brought in natural light and collected rainwater), which releases unwanted hot air out of the passively cooled space. Skylights also puncture the renovated kitchen which is now continuous with the living and dining areas.
Together, these spaces flow out onto the new outdoor deck, where a sun-breaker frames the sky, transitioning from the interior to the exterior beyond.
Given the collaborative, improvisational nature of the project, multiple visions coincided in place of a typically singular one, with a result that is both rigid and relaxed; the addition hovers formally over the landscape, while casually integrating with the ground beneath it as a stair descends to an unfurling wood-clad runway.