Poloynis-Engen Residence

The clients requested a modest residential program of 2,100 square feet to replace their home that was destroyed in the Altadena fire storm in the Fall of 1993. The new structure must accommodate two adults, one child, a two thousand volume library and a grand piano.

The site is located on an existing graded hillside pad in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains at the northern edge of metropolitan Los Angeles. The half acre parcel is bounded by small, suburban residential structures to the north and an access road on the east. A dramatic view of Downtown Los Angeles is framed by hillside ridges to the south. An existing pool is juxtaposed with the ruin of the burned structure, which forms a rectilinear, east - west axis across the site.

The program is organized on one main level and a mezzanine, beneath a longitudinal vaulted roof and within stucco clad walls that build upon the rectilinear ruin of the old house. Concrete block elements containing service functions and a perforated, curvilinear wall that encloses the piano, are added to the perimeter of the main structure. A skewed wall is introduced across the long axis of the vault to direct the entry experience and resolve the axis of the city view with the geometry of the original foundation. The wall also forms a boundary that separates the private from the communal realms within the dwelling.


Photography: Erhard Pfeiffer