For our approach to the design of a single family dwelling in Venice, California, we chose to explore the relationship between the interior spaces of a living environment and the exterior contextual condition. Conceptually, the windows, as a moment of literal connection between the interior and exterior conditions, become a means of capturing the outdoor environment onto the building surfaces to enhance the interior experience- an inverted borrowed landscape.
Although the site for Clement Residence would fall under the rubric of "suburban", a classical window centered on the wall of a room would not afford a sweeping view over a garden onto woodlands. Instead it would present a rather blunt foreground view of and perhaps into an adjacent dwelling. At the same time, we did not want to abandon the original premise of the suburban villa, and create an interior without light and devoid of experience of the natural world.
To solve this problem, we considered the ancient Japanese Garden design practice of using a"borrowed landscape". In our case, we have inverted the borrowed landscape technique, since we have no sublime event on the horizon to collapse into our view. Instead, we carefully chose both the room locations as well as the shape, location and orientation of the openings at each room location, such that each one presents a carefully edited piece of nature as it relates to the different site adjacencies. Placing the bedrooms at the front to mask the street allows the common living spaces to flow into the more private and secluded back yard. Whether a slice of sky, a boulder placed just outside in the back garden, a flower bed, or even a fragment of an adjacent structure, each opening presents its carefully framed piece of nature and exterior condition. The resultant whole is a house which acts as a multifaceted, visual screen, bringing selected pieces of nature to the user, by which the user creates his or her own connection with nature as a whole