Dezeen Magazine

A+M House by Eric Owen Moss

Eric Owen Moss designs experimental A+M House for himself in Los Angeles

California studio Eric Owen Moss Architects has completed a three-storey home that changes shape as it rises and features an industrial-strength rubber coating.

Designed for founder Eric Owen Moss and his two teenage children, the A+M House is located in a beachfront neighbourhood in Santa Monica Canyon, just a block away from the Pacific Ocean. The area is known for having experimental work by architects such as Richard Neutra, Eero Saarinen and Charles and Ray Eames.

Guitar-shaped yellow house in Los Angeles
Eric Owen Moss's A+M House was built on a canalside lot in Los Angeles

For a nine-by-18-metre lot that backs up to a canal, local studio Eric Owen Moss Architects conceived a highly sculptural, three-level home that explores "conceptual possibilities".

In contrast to the typical orthogonal building, the 181-square-metre house changes shape from top to bottom.

Exterior of A+M House in Los Angeles by Eric Owen Moss
The "kinetic" building has a constantly changing form

At the roof level, it takes the form of a rectangle. Closer to the base, however, it has a curvilinear plan that takes a shape close to the body of a guitar.

"The perimeter walls are in continuous transformation between those two plan shapes," the architecture studio said.

"The building is ‘kinetic’ from ground to sky in the sense that it is never a constant shape."

Roughly textured curved yellow walls of house in southern California
The lower levels of the building have a curvilinear form

The walls were designed using a "direct-to-construction" Rhino 3D model, and studs were then cut with a CNC (computer numerical control) machine to achieve their shape.

"There has been a lot of design conversation generally regarding the new and novel milling capacity to reshape space," the studio told Dezeen. "Among other issues, the exterior wall is an investigation of that claim."

A+M House by Eric Owen Moss with yellow exterior and large windows
More rectangular forms emerge closer to the top of the building

Facades are punctured with different-sized windows and are covered in a waterproofing material called polyurea, which is often used on bridges and containment tanks. It is grey when sprayed on and then transitions to a yellowish green.

This house marks "the first time this rubberized coating has been used on an exterior over wood construction," the architecture studio said, adding that they used the material to emphasize the effectiveness and precision of the CNC milling process.

"Whereas a shingle, plaster or metal panel has sufficient depth to ‘adjust or reshape’ the facade, the rubber does not," the team said. "So, the precision of the milled wall is confirmed by the thinness of the rubberized finish."

Light entryway of Los Angeles home with plywood staircase and white walls
A Baltic birch plywood staircase sits next to the home's entrance

On the ground level, a portion of the house was carved away to form two parking spaces covered by bowl-shaped overhangs. Between them is the front door, which leads into a corridor.

At the centre of the dwelling is an atrium. Rooms are organized around this central void, which is traversed by bridges on the upper floors.

Because the home is experimental in nature, determining the exact use of each space is an ongoing process, the team said.

"There was never an effort to accommodate ‘conventional house’ uses in the project," the architects said.

"Rather, there were intent areas that suggest varying use options, including some we didn’t anticipate."

Curved kitchen and dining space by Eric Owen Moss
A dining area and kitchen occupy the ground level

On the ground level, there is a kitchen and dining area, along with a library that is integrated into the atrium.

The first floor holds a "symposium area" used for working, meetings and holding online lectures.

"We also thought that it could be used as a surrogate sleep-over room, with the curving couch accommodating perhaps three sleepers, positioned around the curving couch," the architecture studio told Dezeen.

Bright home theatre space with cushioned tiered seating and wooden floor
Cushioned tiers act as seating in the multipurpose theatre room

Also on the first floor is a theatre-like space with tiered seating and a retractable screen. The floor slopes in accordance with the parking cutouts on the front elevation.

The theatre is used for multiple purposes and has become a favoured spot amongst Moss’s kids, who use it to watch television and sports, play video games and do schoolwork via Zoom calls.

Bright bedroom in A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
The second floor of the house features two bedrooms

On the home’s second level, one finds two bedrooms, each with a sitting area and bathroom. The top level is a roof deck with views of the neighbourhood and ocean.

Interior finishes include drywall, concrete flooring and tile for bathroom flooring and walls. Baltic birch plywood was used for the stairs and for flooring on the upper levels.

A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A stairway leads up to a small rooftop terrace

Eric Owen Moss started his LA-based studio in 1973 and served as the longtime director of SCI-Arc, where he continues to teach. He has also held appointments in the architecture programmes at Harvard University, Yale University and Columbia University.

Other American dwellings with curved walls include a sculptural, all-white house in Los Angeles by local studio Pentagon.

The photography is by Eric Owen Moss Architects.

Project credits:

Architecture: Eric Owen Moss Architects
Project team: Eric Owen Moss (lead designer), Eric McNevin (project director), Raul Garcia (project architect), Michael Robin (designer), Andrew Wright (designer)
Windows: Arcadia, Fleetwood
Skylights: Velux
HVAC: Daikin
Pavers: Stepstone, Inc
Tile: Daltile
Bathroom fixtures: Kohler
Bathroom sinks: Lacava
Toilets: Toto
Bathtubs: Hydrosystems
Kitchen fixtures: Hansgrohe
Kitchen appliances: Bosch
Kitchen counter: Caesarstone Solid Surface
Panel-face refrigerator: Leibherr
Lighting: DMF
TV lift: Nexus 21
Laundry: GE
Chairs: Herman Miller
Custom furniture design: Eric Owen Moss Architects
Wood furniture fabrication: A Single Tree and DMC
Steel furniture and railing fabrication: Tom Farrage & Co

More images and plans

Ground floor plan
Second floor plan
Third floor plan
Loft plan
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss
A+M House by Eric Owen Moss