archival pigment print on lustre paper
90 x 134 cm
edition 10 + 2 AP
Framing: handmade, stained Tasmanian oak with raw Blackwood corner spine detail and non-reflective glass
Excerpt from Bespoke Magazine ‘Shifting Sands’ (April 2014)
The contrasting extremes of the Yucca Valley invigorate the senses and this dichotomous climate is the perfect setting for the angular black home built by Monica Oller and Tom Pejic of Oller & Pejic Architects, a firm based in Los Angeles. The dwelling is a monument or art piece, carved out of the majestic terrain, bordered by the San Bernardino Mountains to the west and the Joshua Tree National Park to the south.
The building brief from the client was simple, even cryptic. He wanted his future home to resemble a shadow. The form that the architects concocted appears as a precipice that emerges from beneath the sandy boulders, like a shard uncovered during excavation. The marriage of forms is staggering, each line emanating from a slightly different angle. It embodies a heightened sense of view.
The elevations and textures, cracks and crevices of the natural environment were all transmuted into a source of inspiration. The duo’s study of the site’s surface was painstakingly developed into a unique geometry of place.
“A lot of the formal language arrived from spending time at the site, looking at it and thinking about it. Looking at the rocks and how the lines and cracks, wherever you look, seem to be converging. Your eyes never know where to rest,” Pejic explains. “We thought the same idea would be interesting in conjunction with the house. We could start with all these converging lines and wherever the vista is, we can try to force the perspective.”
When you enter, those vast perspectives aren’t visible. Visitors must meander through the rooms, descending into one space after another, while the ceiling above appears to lift further and further up. Pejic describes the ceiling in these same terms, as an impression that grows by accretion. “It’s a very old fashioned thing that you see a lot in classical styles of architecture. I find it’s more interesting to drop into a space and feel it get larger.”
Once in the main living room, the sheer scope of the site’s natural beauty is apparent. The house plays beautifully on this drama. “It’s all about the entry progression. There are different levels, with ramps and steps, like a kind of spiralling motion. When you enter the living room, it blows up and you get this grand view,” he adds. This is the theatricality of Oller and Pejic’s design.
The structure and its elements intertwine constructed and organic environments, from the glistening black-bottomed pool to the angular courtyard with a single tree pushing through the manicured surface. One seems to study and reflect the other.