Great Architecture found in the Hills of the Palisades

Jul 21, 2010 by Lisa Newton

If you drive or ride your bike up the PCH, turn right at Mesa Drive, and head up into the hills of the Pacific Palisades, you’ll discover an almost hidden enclave of some of the most fantastic architecture Los Angeles has to offer.

One such house is the home of architect Raymond Kappe, the founding Chair of the Department of Architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, who with a group of faculty and students, started what eventually came to be known as the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), which encourages learning through creative discourse and supports diversity of opinion within the framework of a common vision. His career spans several decades, and in 2009, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in "Stars of Design 2009" at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, California.

Located at 715 Brooktree Road, and listed as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #623, the Kappe Residence fits into the shaded landscape of the neighborhood. Barely visible from the street, hints of the design brilliance of Ray Kappe are clear.

Over the years, Kappe has completed some 100 single-family houses, but the crowning glory is his own home. Built in 1968, it’s the “best example of his strength as an architect: his ability to answer complex design problems with inventive, beautiful buildings.”

But, I’m not going to tell you anymore; I’ll let the architect speak for himself via a tour of his home, Kappe Residence:

In 2006, Ray Kappe began working with LivingHomes, a pioneer of modern, prefabricated homes which combine world-class architecture with an unparalleled commitment to healthy and sustainable construction. Ray Kappe’s initial LivingHome design was the first in the nation to achieve LEED Platinum and was the only home to win the American Institute of Architects’ top sustainability award in 2007.

With the combined forces of Kappe’s design talent and WIRED Magazine, sustainable architecture was taken to a new level in 2007 including; “a 4-kilowatt solar system including high efficiency, all-black SunPower solar panels that generate up to 50 percent more power than conventional panels.” The home also features a forced hot air radiant heating and cooling system; low-maintenance high-design ecological kitchen cabinetry; an environmentally friendly washer/dryer system that uses less water and energy; windows and doors constructed with recycled glass and aluminum; reclaimed redwood milled from old military barracks; FSC-certified exterior siding; tankless water heaters; and LED lights that consume less energy than conventional light bulbs.”

To see the floorplans, click here, but to see the construction of the house in two and a half days, watch the time lapse video below:

Hidden in them there hills are some wonderful treasures.

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