studio pali fekete architects (spf:a), culver city, calif.

The orderly floor plan at this bold modern residence captured the judges’ attention. So did its restrained materials palette and spotless execution. “It doesn’t have a flaw,” marveled one judge,  speaking of the entire project. “It’s perfectly done.”

Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA, says the concept for a floor plan of “living pods” alternating with courtyard spaces stemmed from the site’s long, narrow shape and the client’s program. “They said they wanted privacy in the bedroom and guest area but also wanted to be connected to the kitchen, family room, living room, and dining room sector,” he says.  “The only way I saw to do it was to use a long hallway system and organize rooms off it, so you have gaps in between.” He specified just a few materials for the entire house—teak plywood paneling and aluminum windows and louvers on the exterior, and oak, terrazzo, engineered stone, and drywall throughout the interiors.

The judges pronounced the house a model of “drama with restraint”— an effect Pali worked hard to achieve. “I find you have a lot of ideas when you’re sitting down to design,” he says. “You have to throw most of them away."

principal in charge / project architect: Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA, SPF:a
general contractor: Archetype, Beverly Hills
project size: 5,000 square feet; site size: 0.7 acre
construction cost: $340 per square foot
photography: John Linden