A new home for the Hollywood sign?

Hirsuta's winning competition design could rival landmark LA residences by John Lautner and Frank Gehry
Hollywood Home - Hirsuta - image courtesy Hirsuta
Hollywood Home - Hirsuta - image courtesy Hirsuta

Could a house perched just below the infamous Hollywood sign look like a slowly rotating boulder? That is what a design competition jury is suggesting. The jury, which included Thom Mayne of Morphosis, Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig and Jason Long of OMA, sifted through more than 500 entries to pick the Ambivalent House as the winner of this ideas competition.

The Ambivalent House is the work of Hirsuta, an experimental design practice in Los Angeles, which gets $3000 in prize money. The house, which would be supported by a single column, would take a year to do a full rotation.


Hollywood Home - Hirsuta - image courtesy Hirsuta
Hollywood Home - Hirsuta - image courtesy Hirsuta

If you think it could never be built remember A) this is Hollywood and B) the same was said that about other famous LA residences that have pushed the boundaries of residential architecture  - John Lautner’s Chemosphere and Frank Gehry’s own Santa Monica home being two such examples. Like those buildings, Hirsuta’s design confronts existing expectations of how a home should appear.

“What I would like observers to come away with is more a sense of something,” Hirsuta Principal Jason Payne told Curbed Magazine. "For example, a sense of strangeness - like, this is a very strange object. Or this is an otherworldly object.”

For Payne, the parameters of the contest invited an emphasis on the experience of onlookers, as opposed to the home’s eventual occupant. 


Hollywood Home - Hirsuta - image courtesy Hirsuta
Hollywood Home - Hirsuta - image courtesy Hirsuta

“The form is the inexact offspring of more geometrically perfect round houses already achieved,” says the architect who previously worked with Daniel Libeskind. He adds that Ambivalent House’s design harks back to Richard Foster’s 1968 Round House in Connecticut – a glazed, cylindrical house on a 12ft-tall podium.

The contest was organised by architectural research initiative Arch Out Loud with Last House on Mulholland (LHOM), to generate ideas for the site and to inspire the future of residential design. Or, not to put too fine a point on it - that's enough McMansions, thanks.

Want more houses and buildings that challenged the existing narrative of the day? You'll find them in our books This Brutal World, Nanotecture and the forthcoming, and rather brilliant, Ornament Is Crime.

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