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MAD Completed “Gardenhouse” - its First Project in the USA

MAD Architects, led by Ma Yansong, has completed “Gardenhouse,” the first project completed by MAD in the USA.

Architect's statement: Located at 8600 Wilshire Boulevard in California’s Beverly Hills, “Gardenhouse” is a mixed-use scheme consisting of 18 residential units above ground floor commercial space. Evoking the lush landscape of Beverly Hills, the scheme becomes a “hillside village” with residential units “growing” from the building’s living green wall. Peaking above the landscaped envelope, a cluster of white façaded, irregular-shaped windows, and gabled-roof structures create a dynamic neighborhood, and a playful, witty, though simple homage to the iconic hillsides of Los Angeles.

gardenhose by mad architects in Los Angeles at night image © Darren Bradley

Upon completion, the scheme will host one of the largest living green walls in the USA. This defining envelope is covered in lush plantings of native, drought-tolerant succulents and vines, whose familiarity to the local climate negates the need for extra irrigation and maintenance. The result is a unique texture forming an organic, natural, seasonal addition to the neighborhood streetscape.

the aerial view of a house from above in los Angeles image © Nic Lehoux

The 4,460 sqm (48,000 sqft) “hillside village” offers a variety of different housing typologies: two studios, eight condominiums, three townhouses and five villas. This healthy mixture results in a high sense of community, and a feeling of individuality and exclusiveness even in this small-scale development. Unlike traditional apartment schemes, each unit has its own independent entry/exit circulation route, while almost every unit features a pitched-roof volume with dynamic interior expressions.

house with illumination from above view image © Nic Lehoux

Enclosed by this cluster of white, pitched-roofed “houses”, the 2nd floor courtyard forms a central landscaped gathering space for the small community. With careful consideration given to the distance, orientation, and arrangement of balconies overlooking the courtyard, the result is a private, tranquil, convenient interaction between residents and the “secret garden” which they share.

Residents of “Gardenhouse” are welcomed via a ground-floor entrance along Stanley Drive, off Wilshire Boulevard. The entrance adopts the atmosphere of a cave digging into the hillside; a dim, surreal environment where residents are led on a journey through a “fairyland” of light, shadow, and the sound of water. Further ahead, the softness of the cave meets a bright conclusion, with natural light flooding through a connected water feature from the courtyard patio above. Standing beneath this threshold, visitors marvel at a framed view of sun, sky, landscape, and water: a living painting removing people from the reality of the city.

residential house surrounded with green plants image © Nic Lehoux

Through “Gardenhouse,” MAD seeks to offer a rebuttal to the stereotypical cubic-box living environments of high-density cities across the world. An intrinsic connection with nature, with a tranquil, shared courtyard and private outdoor space for each unit, creates a calm oasis just meters away from the urban environment. The result is a physical manifestation of the idea that architecture can connect with both the built and natural environment, to offer a more full, harmonious living experience. 

residential building with green courtyard image © Nic Lehoux

Ma Yansong said, “Los Angeles and Beverly Hills are highly modernized and developed. Their residences on the hills seemingly coexist with the urban environment. However, they also see enclosed movement at their core. The commune connection between the urban environment and nature is isolated. What new perspectives, and new value, can we bring to Los Angeles? Perhaps, we can create a hill in the urban context, so people can live on it and make it a village. This place will be half urban, half nature. This can offer an interesting response to Beverly Hills: a neighborhood which is often carefully organized and maintained, now with a witty, playful new resident.”

White House building  with central courtyard image © Nic Lehoux

green wall image © Manolo Langis

green wall with plants image © Manolo Langis

facade with green plants and windows image © Manolo Langis

a girl with red dress walking in a corridor image © Nic Lehoux

residential building with central garden courtyard image © Nic Lehoux

a woman standing in the terrace watching LA view image © Darren Bradley

natural sunlight enters the room through skylight in the ceiling image © Nic Lehoux

a building with green facade in Los Angeles image © Nic Lehoux

residential building surrounded with green plants image © Nic Lehoux

commercial signs with led lighting image © Darren Bradley

a residential building with green walls facade image © Nic Lehoux

green wall building with illumination at night image © Darren Bradley

MAD Completed “Gardenhouse” - its First Project in the USAimage © Nic Lehoux

white building with illumination at night image © Darren Bradley

Site Plan Drawing Site Plan 

Ground Floor Plan Ground Floor Plan 

Second Floor Plan Second Floor Plan 

Third Floor Plan Third Floor Plan 

Fourth Floor Plan Fourth Floor Plan 

Fifth Floor Plan Fifth Floor Plan 

Rendering Section Rendering Section 

Section Drawing Section 

Section Drawing Section 


Project name: Gardenhouse

Architecture firm: MAD Architects

Principal Partners in Charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano

Associate Partners in Charge: Flora Lee, Dixon Lu

Design Team: Li Guangchong, Jon Kontuly, Joanna Tan, Chris Hung-Yu Chen, Wenshan Xie, Cesar D Pena Del Rey, Jeffrey Miner

Location: 8600 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly HillsLos Angeles, California, USA

Design year: 2013

Completion year: 2020

Building Area: 4,460 m²

Site Area: 2,400 m²

Building Height: 18m

Executive Architect: Gruen Associates

Structural Engineer: John Labib + Associates (JLA)

MEP Engineer: Breen Engineering Inc.

Landscape Architect: Gruen Associates

Interior Design: Rottet Studio

Civil Engineering: Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.

Green Wall Specialist: Seasons Landscape

General Constructor: DHC Builders, Inc.

Photography: Darren Bradley, Nic Lehoux, Manolo Langis

Client: Palisades Capital Partners LLC

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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