Faculty Bulletin Board

UCLA architect's winning design for conceptual house beneath the Hollywood sign

Jason Payne's design beats out 500 entries

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Ambivalent House
Courtesy of Arch Out Loud

A rendering of UCLA associate professor Jason Payne's award-winning design

Ambivalent House, designed by Jason Payne, associate professor in the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design, along with his design firm, Hirsuta, won the Arch Out Loud Hollywood design competition.

For many, the Hollywood sign evokes the hopes, dreams and aspirations of American culture, but beneath the famous signage on Mulholland Drive sits an empty plot.

Architectural research initiative Ach Out Loud partnered with Last House on Mulholland to host the Hollywood design competition, receiving entries from 500 participants worldwide. The project prompted participants to envision a home of the future, utilizing innovative technology and integrative environmental strategies in order to capitalize on the iconic prominence of the site.

Payne’s design, Ambivalent House, is a spheroid — an object that is somewhat round but not perfectly round.

Like the thick atmosphere of a large celestial body, the outer body of Ambivalent House rotates slowly around a dense, fixed core. Over time, through months and seasons, the house’s many faces continually recombine visually to produce new profiles and elevations as an ever-changing, ambivalent object. In this way, the lifestyle of the house is continually in motion.

The majority of the external building skin is clad in a flexible, panelized photovoltaic film in order to maximize solar exposure and integrate the solar energy system with the building in a primary way. Integral to the architecture itself, the surface material plays with color and reflectivity across elevations, adding nuanced dimensions to the home’s rotating outer body. Some regions of the skin are transparent, allowing for views out through the surface.

Payne is known for producing work that pushes digital design and fabrication away from technique and process toward the explicit celebration of product, experience, affect and atmosphere. With a master of advanced architectural design degree from Columbia University, Payne continues Los Angeles’ long-standing tradition of realized experimentation.

Explore the full project here.

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