Perched on a hilltop in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Los Angeles basin, the project gently lands a dynamic building on top of a buried podium that replicates the natural topography that was once there before the area was subdivided for development.

Rethinking The Future Awards 2023
Second Award | Private Residence (Small-Medium) (Built)

Project Name: RO54
Category: Private Residence (Small-Medium) (Built)
Studio Name: Arshia Architects
Design Team: Arshia Mahmoodi / Xinlei Li / Yuheng Huang / Fang Cui / Ruby Wu / Zhishan Liu
Area: 6,713 sf
Year: 2022
Location: 1254 Roberto Ln, Bel Air, CA 90077

  • General Contractor: Domaen Build Inc
  • Structural Engineer: BOLD Engineer & Associates Inc.
  • MEP Engineer: GMEP Engineers
  • Civil Engineer: GreyStone Engineering Group Inc.
  • Soil Engineer: Hillside Inspections, Inc.

Photography Credits: Paul Vu   /   Renee Parkhurst   /   Yuheng Huang
Render Credits: Yuheng Huang 

RO54 | Arshia Architects - Sheet2
©Paul Vu   /   Renee Parkhurst   /   Yuheng Huang

This hollow post-war neighborhood has been transforming gradually, overtaken by recent developments that rely on size rather than spatial quality. The concept set out to reduce the massing of a rather large project, for it to lodge within the neighborhood proportionally. It proposes an alternative model within the confines of stringent regulations that follows the imagination rather than necessity.

This project engages an exercise in spatial relationships to accelerate the programs of the house. It utilizes the split-level design to follow this topography of the hill and to connect the floor half-story plates. The plates form adjacencies, both visual and functional therefore allowing twice the utility of an otherwise dissected organization.

RO54 | Arshia Architects - Sheet3
©Paul Vu   /   Renee Parkhurst   /   Yuheng Huang

The design was informed by streamline automotive design, proposing every technology in the house to have discreet performance, allowing the sensory performance of the architectural space.

A courtyard that is created by daylighting the lower bedrooms from the buried podium, also acts as the rainwater runoff filtration system for the entire site. The project meets or exceeds stringent California green building and energy conservation standards such as low-flow plumbing systems, drought tolerant planting, rainwater filtration, photovoltaic integration, high efficiency building envelope and glazing, HERS rating of the mechanical system and more.

RO54 | Arshia Architects - Sheet4
©Paul Vu   /   Renee Parkhurst   /   Yuheng Huang

The interior concept for the project was based on a utilitarian approach to materials and palettes in contrast to the overall ambient approach of the design, where space overcame necessity. This balance of power proceeded in the backdrop of environmental sensitivity and clinical dearth.