Location: Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles 
Type: Single Family
Design Team: Katy Barkan
Date: 2017

AIA/LA, 2019 Honor Award, Residential Architecture, Adaptive Reuse
Architectural Record, House of the Month, June 2019
AN Best of Design Award 2019, Honorable Mention, Adaptive Reuse

© Joshua White Photography

This project for a single family home in Los Angeles, is at once 1 house, 2 houses, and ½ a house. The project takes on the suburban block and gabled bungalow—its associated constraints of balloon frame construction, and stucco and shingle materiality—to conceptualize an alternative attitude towards the addition-renovation project, one that can both magnify and undermine the values of the suburban house. To put on edge its ideals of self-similarity, privacy, isolation, and speculation.  

This design sets out to reimagine and expand an existing house by splitting it in two. The 2 house objects, old and new, are set apart by the same 5’ lot-line setback that establishes the rhythm of the street—setting the figures side by side as a means of estrangement and objectification of the one by the other. From the exterior, two domestic volumes sit side-by-side—the low-slung vernacular renovation, and the taut streotomic two-story addition. Upon entry, the gap is revealed both horizontally and vertically as an interior light-well where the two discrete volumes join, bringing light and views into the center of the house through the overlapping rooflines. This central void invites the street in and through, allowing the space between “old” and “new”, interior and exterior, private and public, to collapse.

The ½ house intervenes in its suburban fabric by not exactly fitting in nor sticking out.  By being a part of, and different from its neighbors, implicating them in its own game of objectification. Revealing specificity in residential suburban life rather than perpetuating the flat and private narratives of the suburban type.