California Villa


Project: California Villa

Location: California, USA

Date: 2011

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects

Type: Residence

Size: 1050 sqm



The brief called for a family house in a residential area overlooking the Pacific Ocean. With the introduction of an introverted sculptural structure, the project captures the whole site yet unfurls towards the ocean and the private internal courtyards within. The powerful dichotomy between intimacy and exposure is evident in the extreme.

The primary characteristics of the design are the formal tension between straight and curved surfaces which merge at the perimeter into a softer dynamic then open dramatically to reveal the ocean beyond. The conceptual principle has been defined by superimposition of two abstract elements transected by a dynamic roof gesture, delineating the boundary between private and shared space.

The introverted sculptural geometry of the house is closely nested in its adjacencies. The landscape design follows the language of the building, demarcating the entrance and leading the visitor in a continuous movement from the outside to the interior.

An internal intersection of circulation loops interweave and coalesce the geometries of the house, both spatially and visually, into a single entity. The design’s circulation and organization are indicated by the roof and spatial openings follow movement paths within, reflecting the internal organization of the house. Elements of the roof follow a downward trajectory to become the primary division between the private and shared zones.  At two other intervals, openings within the roof create introverted spaces at the heart of the building - a privileged, smaller courtyard for residents and a much larger communal court used by visitors. 

The principal rooms on both levels are orientated either towards the sea or these internal courts. Visual connections to the sea or the exterior are always provided from any part of the house, yet the divergent design characteristics of the house - exposure and enclosure, opening to the exterior or interior spaces - have created the desired privacy and constitute an interesting juxtaposition of views between indoor and outdoor space.


All pictures copyright Zaha Hadid Architects.