Designed as a series of cubes stacked over each other, the famous Stack House, designed by the architecture duo FreelandBuck, is nestled in the hillsides of North East Los Angeles. Unlike the other hillside buildings that are just kept atop the slope, the four-story building is carved into the sharp slope, which gets embedded into it and creates a much closer relationship between the building and the surrounding landscape. Freeland says in one of his interviews:

Stack House by FreelandBuck - Sheet1
Stackhouse _©( Eric Staudenmeier).

“Our intention was to make a house that had a new domestic quality to it that was not simply trying to take a normal home and put it on a sloped site”

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The rotation and offset position of each room creates a loose stack of boxes, reducing the dominant scale of the house and creating an in-the-round rather than purely frontal composition _©(

Working with difficult site constraints, the steep terrain was the central part of the project. It has a dynamic appearance with subtle rotation of each floor’s block creating a connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces with unobstructed infinite views of St. Gabriel’s Mountain also creating a non-monotonous façade with some blocks jutting outwards from the plain vertical axis of the house and some blocks stepping backward from the vertical axis of the house giving birth to terraces and balconies. The internal wall of each space gets curved at the center forming the tangent arc that softens the blending of each space into one another while also giving a feeling of open planning and fluidity.

The bottom of the building houses a two-car garage which can be adaptively reused as a workspace. The second floor encompasses an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) typically for guests or rent-paying tenants with a separate entry. The third floor houses the living and dining area with a central stair that connects the living spaces to a rear dining patio and a yard that faces the magnific views of the mountains. The topmost floor houses three bedrooms with large windows which open ones eyes towards the beautiful and serene view of the mountains.

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Board and Batten facade _©( Eric Staudenmeier).

The main base of the building is made of concrete on the other hand the custom-cut board and batten siding is wrapping the upper floors. On the board and batten siding, two different types of textures are used, one has simple vertical strips and the other replicates the picture frame configuration. The striped shadows of the board and batten dance around throughout the day with the sun this gets accentuated by the two-toned colors of white and grey that are used on these board and battens siding.

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Side Elevation _©( Eric Staudenmeier).

The front and backward orientation of masses on each floor create a sense of movement in the eyes. This movement breaks the monotony of a big four-floored structure that is standing in front of us. The whole structure seems like a flexible solid. This fluidity gets added by the board and siding cladding over the masses and the type of texture and tones they showcase. Not a single element in the house looked still, the smallest of the smallest element was in a kind of movement that breaks the monotony of a still structure.

To break the monotony in the interiors the architects have encompassed curved walls at the center of each floor which merges the spaces into each other with no separate partition wall other than these tangent arcs. The interior common spaces get spilled into each other giving a feeling of openness and freeness. On the same hand, these curved walls were acting like a perfect partition wall creating a space more privatized. With white walls and ceiling, the floor is kept in French Oak with contemporary décor. The folding glass accordion doors maintain the fluidity between the indoors and the outdoors giving iconic views of the landscape to the eyes.

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Curved Walls in the interior _©( Eric Staudenmeier).

The architects not only embedded the house with aesthetics and efficient planning but also with some sustainable features, including tankless water heaters, a sprinkler system, and a nest control system. In the overall house, the play of colors and textures was simple. The awestruck orientation of the masses on each floor got easily balanced by the tones and the vertical horizontal lines used on the cladding. All of the elements are in perfect balance with each other, not too much and not too less.

“Our intention was to make a house that had a new domestic quality to it that was not simply trying to take a normal home and put it on a sloped site,” Freeland says in one of his interviews. The off-track path for both the architects were building this house between the code restrictions of the city and the realities of the geology and the topography of that area, which makes up no less than a challenge. But the two fellows not only designed the house according to the building codes but also used the terrain of the surrounding area as access to a house that looked as if it was beautifully carved out of the hill which merges the house with the beautiful surroundings.

Aerial View of Stackhouse _©( Eric Staudenmeier).


  • McKnight, Jenna. (2018). Stack House by FreelandBuck is lodged into steep hillside in LA. Dezeen. Available at: [Accessed on: 10 September, 2018].
  • Desgnboom. Freelandbuck’s Stack House is embedded into a Los Angeles hillside. Available at:
  • Petrunia, Pau. Goldberg, Mackenzie. (2018). Designing and developing is a fantasy for many architects: David Freeland tells us how FreelandBuck did it with Stack House. Archinect. Available at: [ Accessed on: 14 September, 2018].
  • FreelandBuck. (2018). Stack House.  FreelandBuck. Available at:
  • Castro, Fernanda. (2018). Stack House/ FreelandBuck. ArchDaily. Available at: [Accessed on: 10 September, 2018].



Pratishtha is an architecture graduate, for her architecture is not just about building structures, it's about how others experience those structures. Her belief is that architects are the ones who could invent different ways to choreograph user experience and convey their intent either through loud writing or silent aura of their design.