Mulholland House, Los Angeles USA, 2017

The Mulholland House is a private residence located beneath the iconic Hollywood sign on Mulholland Drive at the Beachwood Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles. The site is high on a mountain and is surrounded by the hillsides of Griffith Park. The house is designed for a modern family of four members, with the intent of creating a building that specifically caters each individual character, yet with the flexibility to adapt to changing relationships, needs and usage in the future.

Located within a prominent location for tourists to view the Hollywood sign, the house is conceived as a horizontal volume lifted on a pedestal and detached from its topographic ground plane to create a realm of privacy. The hovering volume reads as an observation platform that allows for impressive views towards downtown Los Angeles. On the perimeter, the house is enclosed by a modular steel frame covered with vegetation and embedded with entry gates. The elevated wall frames and screens the private garden, and is an integral design element that defines the volumetric reading of the house. 


The dwelling itself is composed of two levels. The lower level contains the main entrance, mudroom, garage, laundry room, sauna, spa, wine cellar, and serves as the pedestal that carries the horizontal volume above. All utilitarian functions of a house (bathrooms, mechanical shafts, structure, storage, closets, vertical circulation, chimney...etc) are consolidated within the poché.

The thickened walls form a nine-box grid of varying dimensions, dividing the house into a set of asymmetric rooms. Within the grid, each room is considered as a blank space and can be customized or converted for different purposes over time. The poche also contains different unique elements that activates and personalizes each space: a “treehouse” activates the children’s room, a jacuzzi activates the parent’s room, a bookshelf wall activates the study, a chimney activates the living room...etc. The thickened wall is essentially conceived as an extra large and efficient storage unit that conceals all the infrastructural elements of a house, freeing up all the other areas for daily life. 

The center of the house is the Stage, a 15’ x 15’ elevator platform that transports its adjacent program, including the living room, dining room, bar, library and music room from the first floor to the terrace level. By elevating these spaces, residents are able to play the piano, read a book or have a dinner party with the stunning Hollywood sign as the backdrop. The terrace level is also bound by sliding glass partitions, allowing activities to spill outdoors to the roof. The movement of the Stage continuously changes the floor plan of the building. 

This freestanding dwelling does not choose form over function, nor function over form, rather, it focuses on performance - the house as an organizational device that celebrates the idea of living, creating spaces that bring residents together but also allowing them to express and enjoy their individual characters and habits. 


Location: Los Angeles, USA

Type: Residential

Year: 2017

Client: Steve Alper (Last House on Mulholland)

Status: Competition

Team: Nicolas Lee