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Quan Residence
(# 528)
Category:
Images Description Credits
Context
The site is on a narrow winding Arroyo bottom road with dense vegetation and mature trees. The site splits the borders of Pasadena and San Marino. A historical concrete wall fronts the street that must be saved. An existing house was removed exposing a pad and 11 mature trees that the new project was designed on and around. The rear yard had a steep slope.

Program & Scope
The Asian couple wanted a house for 5 people and a design appropriate to the surrounding neighborhood and Pasadena. They also wanted Feng Shui principles to guide the design process to strengthen their harmony, peace, prosperity and good luck. A goal was to create a greenscape setting that looks natural for the house to sit on. This office designed the entire project and provided construction observation.

Budget & Cost
There was no initial budget, but a modest construction cost per square foot was the goal. The finished project was 4,800 square feet at a cost of $902,400 or $188 per square foot in 1996.

Unusual Challenge
The site is split in half between the City of Pasadena and the City of San Marino with neither City willing to defer authority to the other. This involved complying with different zoning requirements from each city including design review approvals from both.

Solution
This design takes its forms from the Arts & Crafts movement and from the mid-century post & beam and slab wall structures to create a new Pasadena aesthetic we call “Pasadena Progressive”. The two-story house navigates around six mature trees on a sloped and terraced site. The second floor bedrooms all open onto roof decks “canopied” by major trees creating a tree house effect. The rear yard slope was terraced into an outdoor natural garden oasis using lush indigenous hillside plant species that would grow under the existing tree canopy. The roof is a green metal that blends into the tree canopy. Exterior walls are light-dass stucco to resemble the backyard clay earth. The beams and trims are dark stained to blend into the tree shadows. Interior walls and ceilings are oiled natural wood, dark stained wood, and white drywall. A serene contemplative environment is the result. This is a lot of house for less than $200 per square foot!

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