RICHARD LANDRY, THE MASTERMIND BEHIND LANDRY DESIGN GROUP, HAS BEEN RANKED AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S TOP 100 ARCHITECTS. LANDRY HAS PRODUCED BREATHTAKING RESIDENCES, TRUE STATEMENT HOMES, RANGING FROM RURAL VILLAS TO CUTTING-EDGE CONTEMPORARY STRUCTURES, SUCH AS THE HOME WE EXPLORE TODAY.
By Roger Grody • Photography by Erhard Pfeiffer
Architect Richard Landry has a passion for adapting classical architecture for 21st century lifestyles. He’s equally acclaimed for his contemporary expressions, like this Southern California residence unbridled by tradition. A large body of Landry’s work involves grand estates inspired by Tuscan villas or Loire Valley châteaux, but his modern homes appear to reflect the Los Angeles-based architect’s own imagination, not constrained by historical precedent. In fact, Landry is fond of saying, “With contemporary architecture, we’re free to write our own language.”
This home occupies a secluded site in an exclusive gated neighborhood in Los Angeles that suited the privacy demands of the original owner. Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger has assessed this house, along with other contemporary Landry designs, as “essays in modernism,” and stated, “…they are as rich as compositions, and as sensual environments, as any of his historicist houses.” Possessing a quintessential L.A. aesthetic, one might argue this home continues a legacy of modernism initiated by the mid-century masters who so profoundly shaped residential architecture in the City of Angels.
This residence feels like a series of art galleries, but in terms of function, it has been meticulously conceived. To meet his client’s unique lifestyle, Landry divided the house into four distinct zones: a public area well suited for entertaining, an expansive master suite, generous guest quarters, and a professional photo studio for the client’s publishing business. These zones are seamlessly connected by airy promenades and elevated walkways.
The choice of materials heightens the minimalist tone of the house, giving it an almost ethereal weightlessness as the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains rise around it. While the structure is dominated by sharp angles and cleanly-chiseled rectangular masses, the zinc-clad roofline is punctuated by a number of wave-like curves, which Landry integrates for both function and fancy. Aqua-tinted glass contrasts beautifully with the white stucco expanses, and the minimalist theme continues indoors with occasional bursts of color.
Landry also livens up the floor plan with a variety of circular spaces, which might be considered modern interpretations of the rotundas found in his classically-inspired homes. Sheltering the rear entrance is a cylindrical, semi-enclosed veranda that is linked to the guest quarters via an elegant pedestrian bridge supported by stainless steel columns. The bridge’s canopy is punctuated by large circular cutouts that ensure the California sunshine is never totally edited out.
Interior designer James Magni selected materials with an understated palette, such as pale maple and limestone, to retain the sense of airy weightlessness that is further reinforced by multiple skylights. Around the pool, Landry and the landscape architects- Zucker Design Associates- created a sweeping minimalist space for entertaining and Magni brought some of that area’s limestone and slate indoors.
Another cylindrical space is the ground floor breakfast room, sheathed in floor-to-ceiling frameless glass to capture expansive views and adjoining a spacious contemporary kitchen. Yet another curvy space is a modern but more classically-inspired rotunda, which provides a transition between the ground floor gallery and the home’s sleeping quarters. This elegant, inviting space features a dramatic recessed skylight and is evocative of an exclusive art gallery.
Both the breakfast room and rotunda reflect a notable Landry signature, one that is difficult to achieve in residences that are either very large or very modern. Despite this home’s elaborate footprint and minimalist aesthetic, those spaces defy the odds by retaining a genuine sense of intimacy.