Earlier this year, the so-called Solar Umbrella house—designed by owners and architects Angela Brooks and Lawrence Scarpa and built by Above Board Construction in West Los Angeles—won a 2007 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects.
The innovative house is hard to describe and luckily it’s built in Venice where pretty much anything goes. The house started out its life in the 1920s as a 650-square-foot house on a 40-foot-by-100-foot lot, and was transformed by the couple into a two-story, 1,900-square-foot vision of light and sustainability. The house takes its name from the 90 solar panels that wrap around the south wall and roof, and which provide the home’s energy needs. Even though the house sits in a sea of one-story bungalows, the couple claim that not one of the neighbors complained about the taller building, in part perhaps because it seems more air than structure.
You can see from the architects’ model on the right how the new portion of the house was built around the existing structure.
Here are comments from the AIA judges: “Successfully brings the outside in . . . Quality of light is wonderful . . . Sustainable materials are used as a design opportunity . . . It’s sustainable and beautiful . . . There is a sense of humor and experimentation to the design elements . . . Delightful — a place where you can see yourself raising your family and enjoying life . . . Multi sensory experience with the interesting use of materials — texture of the walls, water, globes — all delight the senses . . . Successful without being pretentious.”
(Photos: Pugh + Scarpa)