architecture blog

A Modern Pool Pavilion on a Steep Hill

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Sun, Jan 25, 2009 @ 05:01 AM

The Willow Glen Pool Pavilion was just added to the projects section of our website. Here's a bit about our design approach to this unique project:

modern pool designs

The Slope

When a successful young professional came to Modative about adding a pool and pool house to his property in the Hollywood Hills, we thought it was a pretty straight forward request. That was, of course, until we saw the property in person.The existing modern home which sat at street level was immediately followed by a steep 45 degree downslope. As a site for a pool, it was not ideal, but as we enjoy a good challenge; we saw this as an opportunity to design a dynamic solution that would provide the client's request for valuable outdoor space in an unlikely place.

hillside pool design

Blending In

The client had few requests, but one was that the pool pavilion be pretty well hidden from the house above. Our solution was to landscape the roof having it appear as an extension of the sloping side. This green roof not only helps disguise the building from above, but reduces runoff, heat island effect, and provides insulation to keep the pavilion cool in summer months.

pool house designs

Here Comes the Sun

The steep slope also provided difficult solar challenges. To discover the optimal location for the pool, Modative did thorough computer solar simulations with numerous schemes, eventually settling on a pool and deck location that get the most sun possible.

contemporary pool

A Special Place

The pool is designed with an infinity edge that floats over the  drop off allowing for uninterrupted views from the dramatic hillside location. The main space of the pool pavilion is designed for flexibility. Multi-track sliding doors pull back at the corner, opening up the room to the outdoors. The pavilion's wood-clad bathroom was given equal attention. Accessed via stepping pads in the pool, the bathroom also takes in the view from it's oversize shower.

pool deck designs

A Vertical Journey

Because of the intensity of the slope, the pool was located several flights of stairs below the house. Resting points, viewing platforms and changes in direction help compensate for the long vertical journey from the house down to the pool. The main view point along the stair, a projecting landing, was envisioned to double as a DJ booth for parties.

Visit the Willow Glen Pool Pavilion project page

Tags: Los Angeles, Modern Design, Architecture portfolio, website update, Architecture Experience, Residential, Pools

An Architect's Website Breaks from the Norm for the Public's Good

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Tue, Jan 20, 2009 @ 10:01 AM

If you've spent any time perusing architect's websites, you'll probably notice one common theme: architects like talking about themselves and their projects. Does this mean architect's are self centered ego maniacs? Well...long pause...not necessarily. Architects, like most businesses, are somewhat obligated to tell you about themselves; show you their work, and give you a feel for if they are the right firm for you.

Unfortunatly, all this "selfish" architect behavior has left us with a world wide web that is pretty void of honest useful advice for all the non-architects out there(ie. our potential clients.) Most people have the feeling that in order to get an architect's help one must hire them first.This approach seems a bit suspect, since few people, have any experience in hiring architects or understanding what it takes to start a project.

So we have to ask ourselves, does all this uncertainty make people want to hire an architect?

The answer: Not really.

This unfortunate reallity has caused us to make a bit of a change to our site here at Modative. A shift away from architecture website norm.

Yes, our site will still mostly be about US with images of projects, profiles of the partners, and a bit about firm philosophy. However, we have added a new section called resources that is dedicated to YOU, our current and (hopefully) future clients. Our hope is that this section will help alleviate some of the uncertainty associated with starting a building project and deciding on an architect. New free resources for non-architects will be added in the coming months that will be available to anyone with a computer and internet access.

An architect's website about you. How's that for some out of the box thinking?

Tags: website update, architect advice, Organization, Architectual Practice, Innovation, architecture resorces, architect website

Opportunity in a Down Economy

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Tue, Jan 13, 2009 @ 08:01 AM

Our long time friend and professional collaborator Kayo N. Libiano found a great quote very relevant to today's times and passed it along. I will now pass it along to you.

"Never before in the history of America has there been so great an opportunity for practical dreamers as now exists. The six-year economic collapse has reduced all men, substantially to the same level. A new race is about to be run. The stakes represent huge fortunes which will be accumulated within the next ten years. The rules of the race have changed because we now live in a changed world that definitely favors the masses, those who had but little opportunity to win under the conditions existing during the depression, when fear paralyzed growth and development.

We who are in this race for riches should be encouraged to know that this changed world in which we live is demanding new ideas, new ways of doing things, new leaders, new inventions, new methods of teaching, new methods of marketing, new books, new literature, new features on radio, new ideas for moving pictures. Back of all this demand for new and better things, there is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it."

-Napoleon Hill, from "Think and Grow Rich"
First Published in 1937

With all the doom and gloom in the media today, it's refreshing to rethink these times as times of opportunity, innovation and courage. When the economic downturn all shakes out, will the winners be the ones that ran and hid?  Just like back in the 1930's, sticking with the status quo will not lead to easy success. The optimists and innovators will will use this time wisely and hopefully change the world for the better in the process.

Tags: Inspiration, Innovation, Development, economy, quotes

Small Lot Project Added

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Sun, Jan 11, 2009 @ 10:01 AM

The Fay Ave. Art District Dwellings small lot subdivision project has been added to the projects section of our website. This project is currently in the tract map process in the City of Los Angeles. The design for these seven homes is inspired by the growing art district in the project's surrounding area.

Tags: Los Angeles, Small Lot Subdivision, Fay Ave Art District dwellings, Housing

Small Lot Subdivision Info

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Thu, Jan 8, 2009 @ 09:01 AM

We have recently added a few pages of dedicated Small Lot Subdivision Information to our site.

Small Lot Subdivision is an ordinance in the City of Los Angeles that allows you to subdivide lots into small residential parcels (as small as 600 sq. ft.) for the purposes of devloping fee simple housing (meaning you own the land your home sits on verses a condo where it is tied into a home owners association.)

The new Small Lot Subdivision section also shows the small lot projects our office is working on.

If you have any questions about Small Lot Subdivision, please don't hesitate to contact Modative. The code is a bit tricky and we feel that we have learned a lot about its intricacies by going through the process on a few projects.

Tags: Los Angeles, Innovation, Small Lot Subdivision, Multi Family Housing, Housing

How a Young Architecture Firm Can Show Its Experience

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Tue, Jan 6, 2009 @ 07:01 AM

One important thing as a young architecture firm (Modative turns three early this year) is to give your current and future clients a real sense of your experience in the field. As in any profession, especially one that involves the complexities of designing buildings, displaying competence through experience (in this case photos of actual buildings) is critical.

The difficult part, however, when your firm is still young, is that the architecture and construction process takes time. This means that it can take years (and it does) to accumulate a portfolio of built projects.

This is why when we founded Modative we decided that our website should not only show our projects that we have designed since forming Modative, but to also show projects that we played a major role in while working in prior offices. This allows us to display projects that have gone through the entire process, meaning that they are built; as well as show the wide range of project sizes and types that we have experience with.

So, three years in, this is why we still like to show the Project Experience portion of our Projects page. We hope it gives you a proper feel for the types of architectural projects we have helped realize and level of experience the three founding partners had prior to forming Modative.

The following is a project that Christian and I designed and managed while in a prior office.

Manhattan Beach Modern Residence

Glaze Residence | Manhattan Beach, CA

Lead Designers + Project Managers | Christian Navar + Derek Leavitt

Office | Studio 9 one 2 Architecture


Tags: Architecture portfolio, Architectual Practice, Architecture Experience

Welcome to the New

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Mon, Jan 5, 2009 @ 11:01 AM

Happy New Year!!!

To kick-off the new year, Modative is updating our website and blog. In the coming weeks, we will be adding new projects and useful content to our site.

Subscribe to our blog today to receive updates when new content is added.

Tags: website update