Larry Scarpa grew up in Florida, where the heat and humidity kept him indoors. “In Southern California, however, living outside is easy to do,” says the architect, whose firm Brooks + Scarpa is based in Los Angeles. “Now I can’t get away from imposing my desire on others.” Recent beneficiaries of his imposition include a couple whose young children are friends with Scarpa’s son. The family was living on a cramped lot on one of the canals in nearby Venice, but they gave up this otherwise desirable waterfront location for a Scarpa-designed, net zero energy, 4,700-square-foot house and roomy backyard elsewhere in the seaside district.
The bedrooms exit onto a bamboo deck and bleacher stairs, allowing children to bypass the rest of the house on their way inside or out. “I know from having a young kid of my own that you’re always screaming, ‘Inside or outside!’” says Scarpa. To visually unify the house, the architect defined horizontal and vertical edges with a steel band that winds without interruption around the exterior. “It pulls all the pieces together, a continuous squiggle,” says Scarpa.
Formal name of building: Yin-Yang House
Location: Venice, CA
Completion Date: 2011
Gross square footage: 4,700
Total construction cost: 1.7 million
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Ching Luk, Emily Hodgdon
General contractor: Glenn Lyons Construction
Metal Panels: Natural oxidized cold rolled recycled steel
Concrete panels: Recycled Portland Cement Exterior Cement Plaster with integral finish
Windows: Fleetwood, US Aluminum Corporation
Concrete: Type ll Portland Cement with 25% flyash, LM Scofield Lithochrome stain
Wood: Composite floor truss joists by Weyerhaeuser, Micro-lam and parallam composite beams by Truss Joist Corporation, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified bamboo flooring, cabinets, and structural wood.
Flashing: Celotex, GAF corporation, Grefco, APOC
Skylights: Bristolite, Solatube International, Inc.
Paneling: Recycled Formaldehyde free MDF, Recycled-Content Gypsum Board with 31% recycled content (26% post consumer waste), Dens-Glass Gold by Georgia-Pacific
Floor and wall tile: Ecotile by Walker Zanger
Resilient flooring: Ecotile by Walker Zanger, concrete and FSC certified bamboo
Dimming System or other lighting controls: Lutron