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Big & Small In Mount Washington

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With so many houses already in Los Angeles, there really is not a reason for you to have to build a house yourself. Rehabbing a space and updating its older shell is a part of the city’s culture and, sure, demolishing and rebuilding spaces is a (sad) part of it, too. Starting from scratch? It seems like a big task. Echo Park’s Anonymous Architects can handle this challenge. In fact, they excel at it at this: Big & Small, a recently completed residential project in Mount Washington, illustrates their talent for creatively and economically creating a space out of nothing.

The project was an exercise in getting the most for the least amount possible. Using a tiny empty hillside lot as the basis, their goal was to “maximise the interior volume of the dwelling” since the exterior is so limited. There are lots of ways to go about this: you can build up and you can build up and out and you can do all sorts balancing tricks to teeter over the edge of your area. AA went surprisingly–and gracefully–simple by building an acute angled box that is as beautiful and clean as it is open, inviting, and large. “It is an inversion of luxury in that the smallest house contains the largest room,” AA says in their explanation. “To maximise usable floor space the shape of the house follows the shape of the site which is somewhat of the parallelogram. This opened up the possibility of some interesting geometries of the building which in turn helps dilute the mass.”

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The house is so attractive because it is so open. Like many Los Angeles homes, light and space–like the art movement–are big influences in how we live. Large windows and grand, high ceilings with a modern slant are required for us to live: we want to be more than one with nature–we want to invite nature in to live with us. AA does this more than in the typical big windows and open air way by employing bright, light woods and a huge, drool worthy skylight in the bedroom. Moreover, the house is actually elevated to let you actually be able to use the outdoor space: “The free plan of the site mirrors the free plan of the house because the house does not actually touch the ground–giving full access to enjoy the garden and the views outside the house,” AA adds.

Big & Small is just fantastic. It’s a beautiful place and I think we can all say that we would love to live in this open air big but little but perfect space. It appears to only be a one bedroom which, for many, sounds small. But just look at this space: what else do you need? Nothing really. It’s pretty flawless–and an excellent execution of architectural economy.

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