Maltzan responded with a design that at first blush seems to contradict Neutra’s — introverted and opaque rather than outward-looking and transparent, polygonal rather than orthogonal. But the more you get to know his house, the more you see how it picks up Neutra’s ideas and gives them a new spin. While Maltzan certainly uses contrast as one means of relating the new to the old, his strategy is more sophisticated than simply doing the opposite of what Neutra did.
“The new house had to work with the entire environment, not just the Neutra house,” explains Maltzan. A driveway winds its way up the site with the existing home at the top, so he used that processional element to help generate an asymmetrical, spiraling geometry connecting the new building to both the cactus garden and the old residence. To anchor the dynamic composition, the architect focused certain elements — such as an internal courtyard and an oval skylight in the master bathroom — on an imposing stone-pine tree in the Neutra house’s backyard. And since the old residence looks down onto its new sibling, Maltzan designed the roof of his building as an additional facade that clearly expresses the floor plan inside.