Contributing Monkie Whitney Sander
Published on May 31, 2009
Residence for a Briard came out of conversations with the owners who found an old bungalow in Culver City and initially considered a renovation. After discussions with architect Whitney Sander they realized that they could take advantage of his Hybrid House to build a ground-up duplex for only slightly more than the proposed reno budget.
The gauntlet they threw down: to build the greenest house that had ever come out of the Sander practice.
Learn more about the buildings design and the people who brought the Briard House to life, in our previous post here on G Living.
Introduction | Mr Whitney Sander, Architect
Introduction | Catherine Holliss | Interior Designer
When the rain has passed
Introduction | Home Buyer Thomas Small
Introduction | Home Buyer Joanna Brody
The challenge: a very tight budget.
The third issue was Hobbes, the Briard for whom the home is named: not only a huge dog but a huge factor that influenced everything from stair design to finishing materials. This is an instance when it was important that a design “go to the dogs.”
Hybrid House was one of the things that attracted the clients to the Sander. The firm’s strong design reputation was important too as the client is one of the founders of the Architectural Foundation of Los Angeles.
The short list: very modern, very green, very dog friendly.
Residence for a Briard is the greenest Hybrid House ever built. Strategies and materials include: greywater systems, passive heating and cooling strategies, cistern to capture rainwater for watering landscaping, recycled blue jean insulation, sunflower seed wall board, bamboo flooring, marmoleum, structural steel frames from recycled steel, and more.
Case Study House for the 21st Century?
Whitney Sander, principal architect and founder of the firm, has developed a way of creating residential buildings that is both very green and extremely efficient in terms of construction costs. He calls this Hybrid House: part prefab, all custom ™ as each house is completely customized to each client.
Residence for a Briard is a 3,800sf house that is the first example of Hybrid House, the invention of Sander Architects, LLC. Its structural frames and exterior walls and roof are all prefabricated off-site by warehouse manufacturers and shipped to the site in pieces on one flat-bed truck. This entire shell cost $22,000. These pieces then bolt together like an erector set in three weeks time. Once the shell is complete all interior walls, systems and finishes are completed in a traditional manner. The resulting Hybrid House is therefore custom designed for the client, the site, and local codes, at a small fraction of standard construction cost. The completed cost of Residence for a Briard is $500,000, or $130/sf.
Equally important for a designer: the warehouse frames allow the scale of the interior spaces to be magnificent. Residence for a Briard has 28’ ceilings in the great room. The system is also very simple to erect – the general contractor had never worked with it before and he became an enthusiastic convert.
Designed for the President-Emeritus of the Architectural Foundation of Los Angeles, which promotes excellence in modern architecture in the greater Los Angeles area, this house needed to be of great design quality. One example of this is the dominant southern facade, which evolved during many hours of discussions of the arts and painting.
The facade derives from a painting of a violin by Braque (“Aria of Bach,’ 1913). This was especially appropriate as the client is also a music critic. As such, he requested that the house be a place where string quartets could come and play for an audience. So we provided the house with a great room surrounded by a suspended balcony. The long side of this balcony is a shallow stairway with long treads that are wide enough for two chairs side-by-side facing the performance area below. Beyond this is a flat, large landing where additional chairs can be placed. The handrails for both these areas are transparent glass, with grasses laminated into the glass below eye level.
As well, the home makes extensive use of ecological/sustainable materials, systems and strategies, making this one of the greenest residences built in California to date. (See attached notes.)
We aimed to create an eco-friendly Case Study House for the 21st Century using construction strategies that radically reduce standard construction costs for custom homes. These strategies include the use of prefabricated structural frames and components, which allows for a construction cost far lower than competing fully-prefab modern homes.
Project cost: $500,000
3,800sf at +/-$130sf (includes site prep, foundation, hookups, all construction hard costs.)
GREEN MATERIALS AND STRATEGIES used in Residence for a Briard
- Rental unit creates increased density (less land use per person)
- Proximity to public transportation + all basic amenities within walking distance
- Site orientation maximizes passive heating and cooling
- Extensive glazing maximizes natural day lighting
- Multi-cell acrylic panels (with high R-value) for glazing reduces heat loss/gain
- Super-insulated building minimizes energy requirements to heat/cool.
- Recycled steel framing reduces overall building cost / reduces amount of steel
- Grey water system for landscape irrigation.
- Low-water / xeriscape landscaping and plants
- Bamboo flooring
- Sustainable kitchen / bathroom cabinetry
- Stained concrete floors: original concrete slab (fewer materials used)
- On-demand water heater
- Radiant heat connected to on-demand hot water heater
- Recycled steel framing
- Recycled denim insulation
- Eco-resin panels
- Low-flush toilets
- Linoleum flooring and wall covering in bathrooms
- Low VOC paint
- Energy star appliances
- Fluorescent light fixtures w/ programmable dimmers