Launch Slideshow

solar umbrella, venice, calif.

solar umbrella, venice, calif.

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pugh + scarpa, santa monica, calif.

Sure, this solar-powered house costs almost nothing to run. But what most impressed the judges was its thoughtful site analysis and the way the landscape slips in and out of the house. That was what Lawrence Scarpa, AIA, and Angela Brooks, AIA, intended for their home renovation and two-story addition, a former bungalow near Venice Beach. “Energy efficiency is just part of what we do,” Scarpa says. “The big concept for us was about climate and the idea of making the house a pavilion in the garden.”

Inspired by Paul Rudolph's Umbrella House, the design features a solar canopy that wraps the south wall and roof, screening out the scorching sun while providing the residence with all of its electricity. Because streets run in front and back, the designers were able to reorient the house 180 degrees, transforming the old backyard into a gracious entry courtyard that faces south. “It's a thoughtful solution to the problem of how you drop a modern building into a traditional neighborhood,” said one judge.

principals in charge / interior designers: Lawrence Scarpa, AIA, and Angela Brooks, AIA, Pugh + Scarpa
project architect:
Ching Luk, Pugh + Scarpa
general contractor: Forrest Poorman, Above Board Construction, West Los Angeles, Calif.
landscape architect: Samuel Kim, SQLA, Los Angeles
project size: 1,900 square feet
site size: 0.1 acre
construction cost: $300 per square foot
photography: Marvin Rand