Suspended Tetris - David Hertz has produced a number of fantastic residences and the Floating or Binder Residence in Venice, CA is no exception. It's paired back black minimalist play on volumes and floating separated masses intrigues.
The project is located on a small, 37 foot wide lot on a pedestrian only street in Venice, CA. Rather than create one solid object, David followed his residential design signature of two, two story units. The upper levels of the units seeming to float above minimal tilt up concrete walls and pillars of the lower levels. The two upper levels being attached by an open-air bridge. The larger of the structures is used as a residence while the other is used as an art studio and guest room over a garage.
The glazed panels, central to the floating effect are also large, sliding doors that conceal themselves so that the ground floor appears to be open to the exterior courtyards, thus blurring the definition of interior and exterior spaces. A large 2-story chimney wall frames the rear of the courtyard while blocking the overlooking 2-story neighbours. The exterior fireplace at the second floor flanks an outdoor sleeping porch and seating area off of the perforated breezeway bridge. Ipe, and black steel are used throughout the house to complement the Syndecrete® prefabricated concrete panels.
Walls on the first floor are intentionally held from touching the ceiling of the second floor to allow for a clear line of site over neighbouring residences and giving the illusion that the second story is floating above the first floor. These clerestory windows also bathe the lower level in light. The mass of the second floor elevations is divided into sections of positive and negative spaces that reinforce the destabilisation of the wall plane. Some of the vertical slices are specific to selective views of nearby palm trees.
A central floating stair divides the spaces and leads to a usable roof deck framed by high solid parapet walls providing privacy and strategically edited views of the distant landscape.
A continuous skylight, that opens to serve as a shaft to facilitate stack effect ventilation, frames the stairs that float from the ceiling of the second story. The exterior walls of the second story are covered in a smooth, steel trowel, integrally pigmented, stucco. These are connected seamlessly to the interior ceiling of the first floor, their continuation internally to form one single mass, further emphasises the weight of the "floating" block above.