This residence resides in Mount Washington, a suburban area nestled amidst the hills of northeastern Los Angeles. Situated on a steep incline, it offers expansive 180° vistas overlooking the Elysian Valley. From this vantage point, one can behold downtown LA, the Echo Park hills, Silver Lake, Griffith Park, and Hollywood. Additionally, it affords a panoramic view of the Los Angeles River, three highways (5, 2, and 110), and the railway traversing Los Angeles State Park.

Architects: selgascano (José Selgas, Lucía Cano) + Diego Cano
Location: Los Ángeles, California, USA
Date: 2023
Area: 170 m2 + 70 m2 (terrace)
Collaborators: Paolo Tringali
Builder: Juan Santiago
Wood: work Laimar

LA CANARIA HOUSE by selgascano-Sheet1

Elysian Valley holds a significant position as the central hub of LA, both geographically and symbolically. Geographically, it lies equidistant between the ocean and the mountains, serving as the nexus of Los Angeles’ physical boundaries. Symbolically, it marks the site where the city was founded in 1781 by Spanish Governor Felipe de Neve as “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río Porciúncula” (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porciuncula River), supplanting the settlement of the Tongva people, known as Iyáangẚ, or “the valley of smoke,” possibly alluding to the natural smog generated by the atmospheric inversion layer.

LA CANARIA HOUSE by selgascano-Sheet3

The steep terrain faces southwest, mirroring the prevailing orientation in Los Angeles, where everything is oriented towards the sunset, akin to its renowned boulevard. Consequently, it became imperative to shield the residence from the intense sunlight. Thus, the design process prioritized two distinct objectives: preserving and enhancing the 180° panoramic views while maximizing protection from the relentless sun. The resulting architecture reflects the horizon, bathed in the golden hues of the LA sunset.

LA CANARIA HOUSE by selgascano-Sheet4
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To amplify the surrounding vistas, a spacious outdoor terrace mirroring the interior space was conceived. In Los Angeles, where the temperate climate blurs the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living, the exterior space holds equal significance. An enveloping structure was devised to shroud both interior and exterior spaces, providing refuge from the sun while framing the picturesque views. Crafted from recycled aluminum tubes painted in varying colors, this covering enshrouds the residence, transforming it over time as nature intertwines with its framework. This integration includes the introduction of ten palm trees of diverse species, which gradually colonize the canary-yellow shading apparatus, imbuing it with life.

LA CANARIA HOUSE by selgascano-Sheet7

This project aspires to evoke the essence of classical Los Angeles architecture, characterized by a harmonious interplay of horizontals, verticals, and unobstructed vistas. Additionally, a third objective emerged: to craft a distinctive abode adorned with bespoke craftsmanship and materials, yet remain within budgetary constraints. Given the exorbitant construction costs in LA, meticulous planning was imperative, encompassing every detail from dimensions to materials. To streamline the process, all elements, including the outdoor covering, walls, floors, ceilings, kitchen, and furniture, were prefabricated outside Los Angeles and transported in two containers for rapid installation over a few uninterrupted weeks.

LA CANARIA HOUSE by selgascano-Sheet10

Often hailed as “The most exquisite invented garden in history,” Los Angeles epitomizes artificial beauty amidst arid landscapes. This residence endeavors to encapsulate this essence, blending seamlessly with its surroundings, be it the lush foliage, palm trees, wood, aluminum tubes, or shadows, ultimately becoming an integral part of the LA landscape.


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