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MAD creates "living green wall" for Beverly Hills' residences "Gardenhouse" in Los Angeles

United States Architecture News - Aug 27, 2020 - 11:35   4209 views

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MAD Architects, led by Ma Yansong, has created a "living green wall" for its Beverly Hills' residences in Los Angeles, which is the first completed project of MAD in the USA.

Named Gardenhouse, the project, located at 8600 Wilshire Boulevard in California’s Beverly Hills, is a mixed-use scheme consisting of 18 residential units above ground floor commercial space. MAD first released design for Gardenhouse in 2015 and then resealed construction images in 2018. 

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Image © Nic Lehoux

MAD's design evokes the lush landscape of Beverly Hills, MAD wanted to create a “hillside village” with residential units “growing” from the building’s living green wall. 

The design supports the studio's architectural approach like in other projects increasing the inhabitants' emotions like living in the nature.

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Image © Nic Lehoux

Peaking above the landscaped envelope, a cluster of white façaded, irregular-shaped windows, and gabled-roof structures create a dynamic neighborhood, and a playful, witty, though simple homage to the iconic hillsides of Los Angeles.

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Image © Nic Lehoux

The design is described as "one of the largest living green walls in the USA" upon completion. 

"This defining envelope is covered in lush plantings of native, drought-tolerant succulents and vines, whose familiarity to the local climate negates the need for extra irrigation and maintenance," said MAD in its project description.

"The result is a unique texture forming an organic, natural, seasonal addition to the neighborhood streetscape."

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Image © Nic Lehoux

Covering a total of 4,460-square-metre area, "hillside village" offers a variety of different housing typologies: two studios, eight condominiums, three townhouses and five villas. 

As the studio highlights, "this healthy mixture results in a high sense of community, and a feeling of individuality and exclusiveness even in this small-scale development." 

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Image © Darren Bradley

MAD wanted to avoid traditional apartment schemes, and the studio designed a separate entry/exit circulation route for each unit, while almost every unit features a pitched-roof volume with dynamic interior expressions.

Enclosed by this cluster of white, pitched-roofed “houses”, the 2nd floor courtyard forms a central landscaped gathering space for the small community. 

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Image courtesy of MAD

With careful consideration given to the distance, orientation, and arrangement of balconies overlooking the courtyard, the result is a private, tranquil, convenient interaction between residents and the “secret garden” which they share.

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Image © Manolo Langis

"Los Angeles and Beverly Hills are highly modernized and developed. Their residences on the hills seemingly coexist with the urban environment," said Ma Yansong, founder of MAD.

"However, they also see enclosed movement at their core. The commune connection between the urban environment and nature is isolated." 

"What new perspectives, and new value, can we bring to Los Angeles? Perhaps, we can create a hill in the urban context, so people can live on it and make it a village. This place will be half urban, half nature." 

"This can offer an interesting response to Beverly Hills: a neighborhood which is often carefully organized and maintained, now with a witty, playful new resident," Yansong added.

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Image © Manolo Langis

Residents of "Gardenhouse" are welcomed via a ground-floor entrance along Stanley Drive, off Wilshire Boulevard. 

The entrance adopts the atmosphere of a cave digging into the hillside; a dim, surreal environment where residents are led on a journey through a “fairyland” of light, shadow, and the sound of water.  

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Image © Nic Lehoux

Further ahead, the softness of the cave meets a bright conclusion, with natural light flooding through a connected water feature from the courtyard patio above. 

Standing beneath this threshold, visitors marvel at a framed view of sun, sky, landscape, and water: a living painting removing people from the reality of the city.

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Image © Nic Lehoux

Through “Gardenhouse,” MAD seeks to offer a rebuttal to the stereotypical cubic-box living environments of high-density cities across the world. 

An intrinsic connection with nature, with a tranquil, shared courtyard and private outdoor space for each unit, creates a calm oasis just meters away from the urban environment. 

The result is a physical manifestation of the idea that architecture can connect with both the built and natural environment, to offer a more full, harmonious living experience.

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Image © Nic Lehoux

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Image © Darren Bradley

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Project facts

Project name: Gardenhouse

Architects: MAD Architects 

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Date: 2013 – 2020

Typology: Residential, Commercial
Site Area: 2,400 sqm
Building Area: 4,460 sqm
Building Height: 18m

Principal Partners in Charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
Associate Partners in Charge: Flora Lee, Dixon Lu
Design Team: Li Guangchong, Jon Kontuly, Joanna Tan, Chris Hung-Yu Chen, Wenshan Xie, Cesar D Pena Del Rey, Jeffrey Miner

Client: Palisades Capital Partners LLC
Executive Architect: Gruen Associates
Structural Engineer: John Labib + Associates (JLA)
MEP Engineer: Breen Engineering Inc.
Landscape Architect: Gruen Associates
Interior Design: Rottet Studio
Civil Engineering: Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
Green Wall Specialist: Seasons Landscape
General Constructor: DHC Builders, Inc.

Top image © Nic Lehoux

All drawings © MAD

> via MAD