Wrapped in a living wall of lush greenery, Ma Yansong’s Gardenhouse is a new landmark in Beverly Hills, California, that exemplifies techniques architects are using to literally create green buildings.
The boutique residential development, on the city’s iconic Wilshire Boulevard, is the first U.S. project for Ma’s MAD Architects, which is based in Beijing, China, and has an office in Los Angeles.
“It’s a living sculpture,” said Dixon Junliang Lu, a MAD Architects associate partner. “When you are driving by, it’s like a public art piece marking the entrance to Beverly Hills.”
Established in 2004, the award-winning firm has defined its signature style through a number of high-profile projects, namely the Absolute World condo towers in Toronto; Clover House kindergarten in Okazaki, Japan; the Beijing Conrad Hotel; China’s Harbin Opera House; and Paris’ UNI residential development.
Gardenhouse, like the firm’s other signature projects, evokes Mr. Ma’s design philosophy of Shanshui City, a reference to a traditional style of Chinese landscape painting.
“In Chinese, ‘shan’ means mountain, and ‘shui’ means water,” Mr. Lu said. “We use these elements to create cities of the future that fulfill the spiritual and emotional needs of the inhabitants.”
In the case of five-level Gardenhouse, that meant designing what Lu called a “hillside village” whose two studio units, eight condominiums and five villas, plus a trio of adjoining three-story row houses, infuse the small-scale community with a “feeling of individuality and exclusiveness” that allows residents to live close to nature in an urban setting.
The combination of the varied housing units, he added, was designed to make Gardenhouse seem like an organic offshoot of the neighborhood.
“One block south of Gardenhouse, it’s all single-family houses,” Mr. Lu said.. “We placed the row houses closest to them.”
Gardenhouse’s ground floor, which features the lobby, a gym and the two studio units, also accommodates chic retail shops.
Each unit in the 48,000-square-foot development has a private outdoor space, its own independent entry and exit route and a pitched roof that is a nod to the fabled gable-topped structures of Hollywood Hills. Sales launched in August 2020, with unit prices starting at $3.288 million.
Irregularly shaped geometric windows and towering window walls exploit natural light and blur indoor-outdoor boundaries.
“We envisioned a green hill growing up from the ground,” Mr. Lu said, adding that the second-floor courtyard forms a central landscaped gathering space of canopies of trees and hidden gardens where residents can gaze up at the sky and down at the reflecting pool.
The 46-year-old Mr. Ma, in an architectural statement, said that the firm wanted “to bring the green atmosphere into what would traditionally be considered compact, condo living by breaking down the scale and massing of the building. Rather than develop architecture where nature exists around the building, we want to give residents the experience of being in the middle of nature, while they enjoy the conveniences of big-city living.”
Article Source: Mansion Global