Nestled in a neighborhood of single-story bungalows in Venice, California, the Solar Umbrella Residence boldly establishes a precedent for the next generation of California modernist architecture. Located on a 41’ wide x 100’-0” long through-lot, the Solar Umbrella addition transforms the architects’ existing 650 square-foot bungalow into a 1900-square-foot residence equipped for responsible living in the twenty-first century. Inspired by Paul Rudolph’s Umbrella House of 1953, the Solar Umbrella provides a contemporary reinvention of the solar canopy—a strategy that provides thermal protection in climates with intense exposures. In establishing the program for their residence, which accommodates the couple and their one child, they chose to integrate into the design, principles of sustainability that they strive to achieve in their own practice. The architects carefully considered the entire site, taking advantage of as many opportunities for sustainable living as possible. Passive and active solar design strategies render the residence 100% energy neutral. Recycled, renewable, and high performance materials and products are specified throughout. Hardscape and landscape treatments are considered for their aesthetic and actual impact on the land. The Brooks-Scarpa Residence elegantly crafts each of these strategies and materials, exploiting the potential for performance and sensibility while achieving a rich and interesting sensory and aesthetic experience. Taking advantage of the unusual through lot site condition, the addition shifts the residence 180 degrees from its original orientation. What was formerly the front and main entry at the north becomes the back as the new design reorganizes the residence towards the south. This move allows the architects to create a more gracious introduction to their residence and optimizes exposure to energy rich southern sunlight. A bold display of solar panels wrapping around the south elevation and roof becomes the defining formal expression of the residence. Conceived as a solar canopy, these panels protect the body of the building from thermal heat gain by screening large portions of the structure from direct exposure to the intense southern California sun. Rather than deflecting sunlight, this state of the art solar skin absorbs and transforms this rich resource into usable energy, providing the residence with 100% of its electricity. Like many design features at the Solar Umbrella, the solar canopy is multivalent and rich with meaning—performing several roles for functional, formal and, experiential effect. To contact Pugh + Scarpa you can call them at 310.828.0226 or you can reach them by email at puch-scarpa.com
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