The private family house of Edward Ogosta, AIA, Rear Window House, completed in 2017 is a discrete yet clearly modern addition and refurbishment to a 1944 bungalow in an area rich in intact buildings of the same date. A attention to context was essential to the calm, basic design in order to minimize the addition's influence on the neighborhood.
The residence expands out to become profoundly linked with the back yard through careful sequencing of additional areas and strategically placed openings. Using a limited material palette of glass, aluminum, wood, asphalt shingles, and concrete, all external and interior finishes are united to provide a cohesive architectural experience.
Existing interiors were modernized with new skylights, bleached wood flooring, and white walls to make them more simple and cheerful. The project culminates in the large back window of the master bedroom, which is framed by aluminum-clad plate steel and cantilevers above a small pond. The design exemplifies how a deliberate, planned intervention can breathe new life into an older property while also meeting the demands of a modern family and maintaining local scale.
While the previous house performed excellently as a modest beginning home for decades, the architect's increasing family required the construction of a master suite addition into the rear. Ogosta began by removing a huge, centrally positioned tree to make way for the basic rectangular volume, guided by the notion of having the maximum impression with the fewest amount of actions. To emphasize the link between old and new, the addition keeps the typical pitched roof slope seen in the original home and across the neighborhood, but with a geometric twist to produce a more open, airy feeling within. The new volume is totally covered in asphalt roofing shingles, tying the structure to the traditional materiality of the neighborhood.
Ogosta incorporated plate steel and moment frames for the extruded aluminum-wrapped enclosure that cantilevers out two feet from the building face to form the home's iconic back window. A built-in door in the glass wall opens to the backyard pond and garden through a raised concrete plinth. The window provides a very private sensation of being surrounded by nature, and the residence feels distant from the city at times. Tall hedges placed around the property limit noise pollution from the neighboring 405 Freeway and offer privacy, assisting in the tranquil environment desired by Ogosta and his family.
Ogosta wanted to create moments of clarity that inspire a tranquil, contemplative experience, influenced by the California Minimalism pioneered by the Light and Space movement of the 1960s. To attract attention to the natural light streaming in from the skylight above, the end of a corridor is purposefully left empty of furnishings or artwork. Strategically positioned apertures and skylights flood the residence with intersecting light of varied temperatures, producing a subtle drama and interaction between warm and cold gradients reminiscent of a James Turrell Skyspace experience.
Photographs by Steve King.
The Radius House is the young firm's first residential project, which was finished in the early weeks of 2022.