A Range Life


Images of domesticity evolve. Individual lifestyles certainly vary. And yet, houses share typological traits that endure: they provide a private realm separated from public life, a repository for artifacts and tools, a technological apparatus for the body. The iconic homes of Los Angeles do all these things, in ways that have adapted to the dramatic landscape, precarious environment, and cinematic imaginary of Southern California. A Range Life draws inspiration from the domestic experiments of Craig Ellwood’s low-slung enclaves and Frank Gehry’s early residential construction to propose a creative and resourceful mode of everyday life. The architecture of A Range Life privileges the compositional over the compact, the provisional over the static, and the episodic over the systematic.

A perimeter wall marks the house’s east and south boundaries while presenting an iconic version of the surrounding landscape. Echoing the flat, graphic quality of the Hollywood sign beyond, these two facades create a visual play between a scenographic and a physical mountain range. The house unfolds in the valley between the two (real and imaged) ranges.

In A Range Life, objects replace the systems and services that are typically embedded in the walls of home — technologies bound to quick obsolescence. Whether fixed or mobile, these Objects can be more adaptive to new technical capacities, changing environmental conditions, and the growing number of domestic needs covered by the sharing economy.

Constructed from lightweight metal framing, a handful of geometric primitives (pyramid, cube, cylinder, rectangular prism) loosely interact to differentiate spaces within the house and to collect tools and belongings. A metallic sphere collects and heats water with solar radiation. A provisional kitchen uses different types of fuel and solar energy for cooking. Friendly objects throughout the Range are personal interfaces: order food, hail a ride, or watch a movie with a small herd of soft things.

Draped over structural elements, spanning overhead and sometimes wrapping onto the ground, a series of Pelts create enclosure and establish human-scale zones for lounging, sleeping, engaging media, and other activities. A Range Life takes material inspiration from the mountainous terrain around it. Rocks become thick blankets, crisp silhouettes, pixelated images, and material finishes.