The Sherman Residence is located on a hillside site above the San Fernando Valley in an area of Los Angeles that was primarily agricultural prior to World War II. This large plot of land had been originally subdivided early in the twentieth century when it was home to a commercial citrus grove. When the valley was further subdivided for residential tracts, following World War II, this site remained intact. The site is an exceptional record of the horticultural history of the area, as it includes indigenous trees and plants, such as large oaks and sycamores; “working” plants such as orange and avocado trees; and other non-native plants such as palms and succulents.
In developing an intimate relationship between the interior spaces of the house and the extraordinary landscape, the house was conceived as a series of concrete and glass pavilions that form a courtyard at the base of the hillside. Interstitial gallery spaces provide for circulation between the pavilions. The porosity of the glazed pavilions allows for both visual and physical connection between the more public and private spaces of the house. A singular low-slung, modulating roof with deep overhangs holds together the composition and creates a strong sense of enclosure. The building uses board-form concrete construction, a refined version of a conventional method of forming foundations. Employing standard 2×12 lumber as a module, this technique is used as a proportioning system throughout the building.
Through foreshortening the views, the wooden underside of the roof extends the major interior spaces of the house to the exterior, virtually flattening the landscape and bringing it closer to the interior. In this regard, the hillside acts as a visual screen, enclosing the fourth side of the courtyard. Nature is brought into relief from a variety of positions inside the home, creating a perceptual unity between indoors and outdoors.
5,000 SF main house
1,500 SF guest house
CLIENT: Jerry & Zina Sherman
PROJECT TEAM: Peter Tolkin, John R. Byram, Christopher Girt, Craig Rizzo, Angela Uriu, Eric Townsend, Anthony Denzer
ENGINEERS: Joseph Perazzelli (Structural), John Ott & Associates (Civil), Brian A. Robinson & Associates (Geotechnical)
LANDSCAPE: Wade Graham Landscape Studio
CONSULTANTS: Tree Life Concern Inc. (Arborist), E&J Engineering & Energy Designs (Title-24 Energy)
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: A-1 Construction
PHOTOGRAPHER: Peter Tolkin, Grant Mudford
AWARDS: 2001 Excellence Award Southern California Ready Mixed Concrete Association
Project completed in partnership with John Raymond Byram Architect.