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The site has views to the North and East. In order to enjoy the Californian sunshine the building should have its outside space, garden, terrace and balconies facing South. Therefore, to make the most of the location, the house should be situated at the North of the site. This allows full use of the flat area of the site to the South of the house for external living, while to the North the site slopes steeply away giving views over the city.
The problem is that access to the flat part of site is currently via a drive that delivers the visitor to the South end of the site. Thus either the South facing garden and terraces risk becoming a parking lot, or at best are heavily compromised by becoming a thoroughfare; or the building is located at the South end of the site with a North facing garden, terraces and balconies. Both options are unacceptable.
The driveway is relocated to arrive at the North end of the site rather than the South. The new driveway is no steeper than the existing driveway and includes two bends to accomplish the required change in direction.
The house can now be located at the North of the site adjacent to its access, with views to the North and East and enjoying a garden and terrace to the South with uncompromised privacy. The first floor overhangs the ground floor on the South side by 5 feet to give shade from the noonday sun.
Locating the garage for 8 cars at ground level would take up too much of the flat part of the site, leaving little room for a garden or terraces. Thus the garage has been removed to the subterranean level and can now be made large enough for full and free access by all 8 cars. The new driveway is terminated in a turning circle and visitor parking area at the main entry to the house, with a spur running down to the lower level to a garage door cut into the cliff.
The Master Suite appropriately takes the lion’s share of the upstairs views but this restricts the options for the four remaining bedrooms on the upper floor. Consequently, two of the bedrooms have been relocated in the lower level to take advantage of views to the East and the privacy of the lower end of the site.
Partly to maximise the flat area of the site for use as garden and terrace, and partly to take advantage of the natural cliff, the building is cantilevered over the edge of the site and a steel exoskeleton is used to support it giving the building a dramatic form. The framework is computer designed to minimise steel usage and align the members with the principle stress lines. This enables large uninterrupted sheets of glass to form the sides of the principle rooms. The cliff is surfaced with an irregular rock face and a waterfall runs down it from the infinity pool to further enhance the drama.
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