LUXURYCULTURE.COM - Belzberg's Skyline View


Architect Hagy Belzberg's elevated abode, emphasizing structure and surroundings in perfect harmony, is a fitting tribute to the architectural excellence of LA's hilltop homes captured by the photographer Julius Shulman.

Architect Hagy Belzberg's elevated abode pays fitting tribute to the architectural excellence of LA's hilltop homes, and emphasizing structure and surroundings in perfect harmony.

Hagy 's definition of luxury:
Something that elevates your senses beyond your equilibrium!

If luxury were...

A moment
Free time with my family.

A place
In my den having fun my family after a productive and full day.

An object
As long as it were simple in ornament, elegant in form and functional in use.

Rooted atop a ridgeline high in the Hollywood Hills, stands a beautiful family home. Though baring the familiar trappings of LA's iconic modernist style – expansive floor-to-ceiling windows framing panoramic vistas and an enviable infinity pool – introduced by the modernist masters of the mid 20th century, this is no pastiche of the city's architectural golden age, but an incredible template for the new century.

Perfectly appointed and thoughtfully executed, the most impressive aspect of Hagy Belzberg's award-winning Skyline Residence is that this superlative structure dispels the classic myth that style and sustainability cannot coalesce. Environmental consideration was the main paradigm, right from the outset. Locally manufactured Low-e glazing and timber flooring and framing off-cuts acquired from a nearby construction project reduced the carbon footprint associated with the import of exotic materials, and the dense granite stone amassed during excavation was decomposed and later reused to create a drainage field under the saltwater filled infinity pool.

Self cooling initiatives, such as the single-loaded corridor between the Southwest facing glazed façade and the bedrooms that blocks the heat of the low, late evening sunset, or the oversized, hinged double-doors which open on either side of the living room, allowing effective air movement, could be compared to the environmentally low impact design touches of Australian architect Glenn Murcutt. However, although the architect denies Murcutt's direct influence, he too thoughtfully advocates Murcutt's trademark "Touching the earth lightly." "This is our collective responsibility. We as a community - both architects and clients together, must design and facilitate all buildings within this philosophy. Glenn Murcutt was ahead of his time – we as a community, are only catching up!" Belzberg admits.

Eco credentials aside, what is most impressive about Belzberg's stylish retreat is the design, which took the 2007 L.A. American institute of Architects' Next Honor Award for Design Excellence. A former employee of Pritzker Prize winner Frank Gehry, it comes as no surprise that the most standout feature of Skyline is the geometry of the single fold that dominates the design. The main home and guest house are enclosed by a single folded surface with infill glazing and screened walls. While the glazed North and Northeast faces of the building frame the stunning views of downtown Los Angeles, Laurel Canyon and the San Fernando Valley, the solid walls that form the fold affects the visual relationship of the space and minimizes the low angle heat without the use of window treatments.

In keeping with the transparency of the home, interior materials, such as the polished concrete and white terrazzo flooring, extend beyond to the outdoor patio and entry platform. Outside Belzberg introduces impressive creature comforts in the form of entertaining zones centered around the solid faces of the building. With the use of projectors, the walls double as movie screens, recreating the illustrious drive-in movie feel of fifties America. "When I was young, there was a drive-in theater near our home. My parents did not have the money for us to buy tickets – so we would sit outside the perimeter fence and sit very quietly in order to hear the sound boxes that people would attach to their cars. It was great, and a wonderful memory – summer evening outdoors in LA watching a movie. When it was time for me to design my own home, I thought it would be great to re-live that memory – now, however, I can afford the sound box!" he jokes. Unconventional, unique and visionary, Belzberg's home on high heralds a new image and a new way of life for Los Angeles' illustrious architectural language.

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