Houses are often built around a view, a lake or another landscape feature … so why not a tree? Built under and around a massive ash, the lines and planes of this tree house structure by Standard respond to this tree that is central to the design yet never touches the structure.
During the day, the tree provides natural shade but allows sun onto the thrust deck that faces south and overlooks the Los Angeles basin below. The clean, wrapping horizontal lines of the building contrast with the speckled shadows and asymmetrical vertical forms of the tree.
From each possible angle, the tree and house exist as counterpoints to one another but also collaborators – the volumes closest to the tree are clad in wood while those behind and below are concrete.
Naturally, the tree is also a key element of the interior views – it is framed by the windows but also informs the perspective, providing a foreground element to the distant background cityscape far below.
“Perched near the top of a hillside in Los Angeles, this house responds to its site and the city through its transparent southern exposure. A large ash tree literally envelopes the house, creating a microclimate to which the project responds. The house employs passive solar design and other low-tech methods of climate control even as the open south elevation allows panoramic views of the Los Angeles basin.”
“A partially concealed post and beam structure modulates the exterior and allows openings to span from floor to ceiling. The second floor bears on thin stainless steel columns and cantilevers over a concrete deck, which in turn cantilevers over the slope. The horizontal layering of the roof and floors extends the interior and engages the space under the tree. The strong horizontal projections also provide visual balance to the immense trunk and limbs. Redwood siding clads the overhangs and defines the transition between the inside and out.”