Martin Fenlon Puts Contemporary Face On Historic Bungalow Near Downtown LA

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US architect Martin Fenlon cites the Gehry Home as inspiration for the renovation and growth of his own home – a cedar-clad bungalow in Los Angeles .

Situated on a dense internet site, the Fenlon Residence is found in Herman, a small-acknowledged residential neighbourhood just outside of downtown Los Angeles.

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The 960-square-foot (89 square metre) project entailed refurbishing a dilapidated 1920s bungalow and incorporating a new, attached construction to the street-facing facade.

“The new addition to the front of the property forms a unique alliance with the remodelled present residence,” stated Fenlon. “This new frontispiece appears to be intimately nested within the older present residence, although maintaining a stark differentiation.”

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The architect removed the authentic gabled porch, leaving a triangular opening in the roof that serves as a skylight.

The new addition is clad in clear cedar, which visually contrasts with the dark, torched cedar wrapping the main house. The front elevation terraces down to the sidewalk, forming a lengthy bench.

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Inside the original property, the dropped ceiling was removed in purchase to expose the wooden roof framework.

The kitchen functions economical Ikea cabinetry and wood panelling. A massive window in excess of a counter slides open, enabling use of the counter from the outside.

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Other regions of the house are “punctuated by a series of developed-ins that integrate everyday objects with the spaces they’re in,” stated the architect.


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“The new walnut and teak finishes throughout are equivalent in tone with this existing wood, blurring the distinction among outdated and new,” added Fenlon. “The basic blend of the wood and white plaster throughout is reminiscent of California mission architecture.”

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The architect mentioned he was influenced by the Gehry Residence in Santa Monica, in which Frank Gehry transformed his personal typical residence into a Deconstructivist perform of architecture. He eliminated drywall on the interior, and additional plywood and chain-hyperlink fencing to the exterior.

Completed in 1978, the seminal property was Gehry’s breakout venture.

“Gehry’s residence was my greatest influence in college, so I needed to use it as a level of reference for my own property, exactly where the scope of function was related,” stated the architect. “The aim was to modify an outdated house in a similar manner, creating a radical differentiation among the existing and new.”

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Fenlon’s technique was various from Gehry’s in that he needed to merge previous and new in a way that “outcomes in a congruence as an alternative of a conflict.” He explained Gehry’s property was minimize up and wrapped in junk supplies, resulting in an “exposed and undermined” style that was a reflection of the era.

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“I wished to accomplish the opposite end result by means of equivalent implies,” stated the architect, who started out his eponymous studio in 2004 soon after doing work for numerous architecture companies, such as Morphosis.

“The result is meant to be similarly expressive of the instances, but conveys a sense of optimism in contrast to the cynicism of the 1970s.”

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From single-family residences to mixed-employed skyscrapers, LA is in the midst of an architectural boom. The city has become “the hottest destination” in America for architects, said Ma Yansong of MAD in a recent Dezeen article.

The Broad museum, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, just lately opened on Grand Avenue in downtown LA.

Across the street, Frank Gehry is planning a mixed-use growth opposite his Walt Disney Concert Hall. He is also masterplanning an overhaul of the run-down LA River, and just lately unveiled programs for a five-building complex on Sunset Strip.

Photography is by Zach Lipp.

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