The historic Mulholland Drive winds it way through the peaks of the Santa Monica Mountains, offering sweeping views of the Los Angeles basin and San Fernando Valley. This scenic route, which also plays host to some of Hollywood’s elite, provides a quiet retreat from the bustling urban center below. From the street, 7691 Mulholland Drive has an unassuming presence. A twisting driveway is the only indication of the 5,800-square-foot structure below. Situated on steep incline, the design meets the challenges of the terrain and physical constraints of its L-shaped lot, presenting an optimal solution to a unique set of conditions. Its sunken nature not only guards against the harsh western sun, but also serves to maximize energy efficiency. As a result, the house seems to gently cascade down the hillside, allowing each level to have an unobstructed panoramic view of the landscape.
The slope of the site informs the organization of the interior, with a privacy gradient that flows downward through the various levels and terminates at the guesthouse. The upper levels hold the main living spaces and encourage interaction by maintaining a visual connection to each other, with the bedrooms and more intimate family spaces tucked below. Access to the outdoors is maximized by utilizing the rooftops as decks.
The home can be accessed in two ways. An attached two-car garage provides a private entry through the kitchen, while guests approaching the residence from the street are invited in by the majestic staircase leading up to the front door. The thirty-six foot descent is minimized by the expansive unenclosed steps, with the western edge serving as a platform for seating or display.
The kitchen, dining area, and lounge are located to the right of the entrance where a staircase lures you down to the aptly named grand room just one half-level below. This vantage point offers a truly incredible view of Los Angeles, drawing you out to the upper deck complete with an infinity pool. Another set of stairs leads from the grand room to the private quarters below. Here, the building peels away to form a small courtyard, allowing sunlight to seep in and illuminate the hallway. A path of light guides you from a home theater on one end to a modest family room and two bedrooms, connected by an exterior deck.
The master suite is separated by another half-level descent and extends the entire length of the floor plate. It includes a spacious bathroom and wine room, creating an isolated ambiance that encourages a state of repose. On the lowest level rests the guesthouse. Secluded from the main house, the guesthouse features a private entrance, bathroom, and kitchenette. The design aesthetic represents a departure from the traditional architectural styles in Los Angeles. While the project seeks to reflect the complexities of a fast-paced environment, the tone of house is one of simple living.
Written by Sabrina Blackman, Intern, VOID
About the Firm
VOID is a design firm behind the project, is an award winning design firm for building space at all scales. Our practice is dedicated to the discovery of singularities through the exploration of ‘extreme’ conditions in various notions of space. It is a purported multi-disciplinary plateau that operates at the nodal point of logic and dramatic conditioning. Our architecture cruises toward built environments rooted in hard sciences—i.e. the integrity of structure and form, statistics and programmatic classifications and weaving complex information into solid states—it distinguishes itself by the matter of synthesizing behavioral qualities ranging from the behaviors of material and structure to human intelligence, and ultimately seduction into a unified production.
In 2010, the design for VOX—a 1200 square-foot LED façade installation on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood—was chosen by the prestigious Association For Computer Aided Design In Architecture (ACADIA) as part of their exhibition at The Cooper Union in New York through a peer review process. VOID and its founder, Arshia Mahmoodi, have been highlighted in numerous international publications and winning the prestigious American Institute of Architects (AIA) award in 2005 for its undulating, cinematic design of the Bobco Metals Co. Since 2004, Hollywood, California has served as fertile ground for VOID, where it openly derives its influences and utilizes associations with the motion picture industry and its frontier technologies.Location: 7691 Mulholland Dr. Hollywood Hills, CA 90046 USA Architectural Team: Void Inc | Axel Schmitzberger, Brittany DePaul, Miguel Gonzales, Pouya Goudarzi, Spencer Brennan
Completion Date: Dec. 2011
Function: Private Residence
Area: 5800 sqft
Floors: 2 Split level + Roof deck + Guest house
Rooms: 3 Bedrooms, 6 Bathrooms, Ent. Room, Guesthouse
Budget: $2.2 M
Design: Arshia Mahmoodi
Structural Engineer: Amir Pirbadian, Inc.
Civil Engineer: BDS Associates, Inc.
Soil & Geology Engineer: Parmelee Geology, Inc.
General Contractor: United Construction Inc.