5.10.2018

Hide Out

Architect Dan Brunn, AIA, redesigned a 3,600-square-foot residence in his minimalist aesthetic, while incorporating design cues from the home’s original architect Frank Gehry, FAIA.

The first-floor open-air plan accommodates work and display space for the owner, artist James Jean. Brunn created a dynamic undulating staircase wall—and utilized primary building materials of wood, concrete, and glass—as a nod to the shapes and materials famously used by Gehry.

The sculptural statement appears upon arrival, with the walnut wall leading from the entry into the living room, slightly protruding into the walkway. The shifting shapes and angles of the stairway are in homage to Gehry as well as to Jean, who features flowing arabesques in his art. The dynamic swoosh captures the sun so the slats encourage a dance of light and shadow and draw people upstairs.

A large-scale pivoting wall at the far end hides or reveals a multi-purpose room. A built-in murphy bed emerges from the floor-to-ceiling bookcase to transform the library into a guest room. Taking cues from Japanese tea houses, Brunn designed a wooden box-like volume for a variety of activities: social gatherings, meditation, or music performance. Walnut planks create canted walls that radiate out from the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass wall, with the wood surface rising along the slanted ceiling. A strip of lighting subtly accents the ceiling piece and relates to various strips—dynamic chandelier, edge of the pivot wall, light through the stairway slats—that create a leitmotif throughout the house.

A lush garden area is visible and reachable through sliding glass doors. Copper paneling clads the exterior of the “tea house” volume. Garden features traditional species of Japanese bamboo, gingko, and maple, choreographed for a serene and peaceful setting. A concrete bench with wood slats relates to the interior and faces a wall that the artist uses as outdoor painting space.

Upstairs, natural light seeps into the stairwell tunnel through a glass-enclosed open-air meditative garden accessible through the master bathroom. Previously boxed in with no access to the outdoors, this area was designed as a garden space by Brunn to acknowledge Gehry’s original intention to make the area an encased greenhouse.

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