A derelict industrial building situated between two elevated train tracks was transformed into a light-filled home for a family of four. An interior courtyard was cut out of the 5,000 square foot single story former wood shop to bring natural light and ventilation and create a central focal point that can be seen from every room in the house. Taking clues from the existing roof structure, which was intentionally warped to shed water, a partial second floor housing an elevated family room has a roof form that elaborates on this condition.
The U-shaped roof directs rainwater into a cistern located beneath the courtyard and is used for landscape irrigation. Additional green features include geothermal heating, high-efficiency soy-based foam insulation, locally fabricated cabinets, and 800 square feet of photovoltaic panels on the roof. Timbers salvaged from the roof were repurposed as stair treads.
Challenges to be overcome consisted primarily of creating privacy on a fairly exposed property. The site is visible to thousands of train commuters per day. Privacy was achieved through the use of translucent glass in selected windows. Views out were directed at controlled landscapes and the iconic "EL" structure itself