Walker Workshop’s Oak Pass Main House Is “Upside Down”
The Oak Pass Main House’s “Upside Down” program sees public spaces built above bedrooms buried into a hill, beneath a green roof of edible herbs.
The Oak Pass Main House is carefully perched atop a ridge amongst Oak woodlands in Beverly Hills, California. Designed by Los Angeles based architectural studio Walker Workshop, the modern residence finds itself at a vantage point overlooking panoramic views of canyons and canopies. Yet, it maintains an unobtrusive presence within the rolling forest landscape, and wittingly so.
Using an “Upside Down” program, public spaces are built above bedrooms, which are buried into the hill, beneath a green roof that provides edible herbs.
The Oak Pass Main House: Maintaining an unobtrusive presence amongst 130 protected Coast Live Oaks
With over 130 protected Coast Live Oak Trees, oak woodlands remains a pristine sanctuary of flora and fauna. Thus, designers at Walker Workshop committed to integrating some 8,000 sqft of floor space into the hillside to minimise the residence’s visual mass. Subterraneous spaces – four bedrooms, a study room, and a gym – peek out from the hillsides, offering liberal eyelines of the canyon. A wine cellar and a home cinema are also built deeper into the hill. On the same level, an angular courtyard offers an intimate space to take in the picturesque surroundings, with naturally lit adjacent corridors leading to the house’s private quarters. A living and dining area, kitchen, and carpark in the form of single-storey pavilions right above are each carefully angled to frame different vistas. The result is a residence of minimalist elegance that blends discreetly with the surrounding landscape.
For the most part, the building was constructed with structural concrete, allowing for larger cantilevers that exude a sense of weightlessness. Column-free expanses and floor-to-ceiling glazings provide home owners lavishly with unobstructed views. Adding to the lush experience, the glass facades are often a series of sliding and pivoting panels that allow the interior spaces to stream out onto alfresco terraces so the mild, Mediterranean climate of Southern California can be taken in at light touches.
Walker Workshop opted for a minimalist design throughout the residences. Terraces are paved with grass, including an herb garden roof over parts of the lower level. A 75 ft pool, infinity on 3 out of 4 sides, is situated below and reflects one of the largest Oak trees on the property. Inside the house, a palette of natural materials such as limestone for pavilion floors, marble for kitchen and bathroom counters, and walnut wood for the lower floors and wall panelling are reminiscent of the surrounding natural landscape, harmoniously assimilating the space into the Oak woodlands.
The Oak Pass Main House devotes itself to an intimate and respectful relationship with the largely unaffected and organic location, a marrying of careful gentrification to a preceding natural context.