Chemosphere Restoration/Remodel

Los Angeles

Perched on a single concrete column, the Chemosphere is a brilliant structural solution to the problems of building on its precipitous site. The column lofts a steel and wood octagonal platform, supported by eight steel diagonal braces from which spring eight arched glulam beams that are tied to a steel compression ring at the center of the house. None of the interior walls are load-bearing. A large living, dining and open kitchen area occupies roughly half the house, facing the view. The other half, facing the hill, accommodates the bedrooms, bathrooms, and a laundry room.

After decades of neglect, the purchase of the Chemosphere in 1997 by publishers Benedikt and Angelika Taschen led to the restoration of this iconic structure. Built in 1960, the Chemosphere is not only one of the most important projects by architect John Lautner (1911–1994), but it is also one of the best-known houses in Los Angeles.