Treehouse by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners
Santa Monica, California
Architects & Firms
Project size: 4,950 square feet
Program: This live/work house for the architect and his artist wife has two studios, native gardens, and flexible indoor-outdoor living. The couple collaborated on all aspects of the project: the architect led the building design and site planning, while the artist directed color and material selection, furnishings, and gardens. The two approached the house as a case study in sustainability, based on passive design with building and environment in harmony. The house celebrates its connection to the local and regional landscape. In Rustic Canyon, just two miles from central Santa Monica, it nestles low between canyon ridges to the east and west
Location: Rustic Canyon, California
Solution: The house is organized along an east-west axis to optimize north and south solar orientations. A gallery forms the spine of the house: rooms alternate north and south of it, creating the sense of separate pavilions while allowing for all major areas to have ample exposure to light and prevailing ocean breezes. This alternation of spaces creates a hierarchy of courtyards from the entry and the library court to the central south-facing court, which frames a 125-year-old English oak, the anchor of the site. As a deciduous tree, it gives perfect summer shade and allows the court to capture warmth in winter. Operable glass walls allow spatial variations of indoor-outdoor connectivity. Like the Japanese concept of “ma,” the house is experienced progressively as a transformation from inside to outside and back again.
Construction and materials: The structure is steel with engineered wood studs. The material palette represents a blend of elements such as hand-mixed integral color plaster and stone for thermal mass, with contemporary products: treated wood siding as a rustic but fire-resistant exterior cladding, recycled materials, LED lighting.
Completion date: March 2016
Gross square footage: 4,950 square feet
Total project cost: withheld
Owner: Buzz Yudell and Tina Beebe
Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Architects: Buzz Yudell, FAIA and Tina Beebe
Architect of record:
Moore Ruble Yudell
Civil—CW Howe Partners, Inc.; Geotech—Grover Hollingsworth and Associates, Inc.;
Surveyors: M&M & Co.
Oliver Garrett Construction, Inc.
Colins Lozada/Moore Ruble Yudell tel: 310-450-1400
Structural steel and engineered wood studs (all wood 100% FSC)
Other cladding unique to this project: Thermery for exterior wood cladding and garden walls
Metal: Standing seam metal roof
Metal frame: Fleetwood aluminum casements and awning
Glass: Solarban 70 Low E
Metal doors: Fleetwood
Sliding doors: Fleetwood
Other special hardware: Stainless steel railings by Art Metal
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Henrybuilt
Paints and stains: All paints and stains low VOC and custom mixed by Tina Beebe
Special surfacing: All walls integral color trowelled plaster, custom mixed by Tina Beebe
Raised flooring: All walls integral color trowelled plaster, custom mixed by Tina Beebe
Special interior finishes unique to this project: All walls integral color trowelled plaster, custom mixed by Tina Beebe
Chairs: Varied: including chairs by Bellini, Aalto, Rietveld, Prouvé, and Yudell
Tables: Varied: including tables by Noguchi, Bouroullec, and Yudell & Beebe
Interior ambient lighting: All LED low energy fixtures
Energy management or building automation system: Solar panels provide:
Photovoltaic system: PV panels provide excess energy on an annual basis
Other unique products that contribute to sustainability: More than 80% of the pre-existing house was donated and recycled.