Hover House 3 on the Venice Canals of Los Angeles

Designed by Glen Irani Architects the Hover House 3 is the third in a series of Hover Houses, which aims to reduce the amount of indoor living space by taking it outside. Each Hover House "hovers" over the ground floor creating a protected outdoor living space, thus reducing materials needed, but never at the sacrifice of living space.

Located on the Venice Canals of Los Angeles, Hover House 3 conceived as a reinterpretation of interior and exterior space, the series sets a standard in temperate regions for eliminating significant portions of the interior floor by ‘hovering’ the building envelope above the grade level. The design increases the overall square footage afforded by the lot, while also decreasing the more costly and resource-intensive interior floor. The exchange of built volumes for exterior living equivalents, a wind tower that extends nine feet above the roof (eliminates air conditioning), and other significant system integrations aid in greatly reducing the overall carbon footprint.

In a city inundated with sprawl, the Hover House is not only novel in its ability to meet programmatic desires and maximize space, but also in its ability to be hedonistically sustainable. The notion that ‘going green’ has to be one of sacrifice and banality is a claim the Hover House readily refutes. The design optimizes the lived area in terms of square footage, systems, flow, and resources. In addition it employs an array of ‘green’ systems that create a symbiosis between the space and dweller. This seamless dialogue created further enlivens the quality of living ,and positions sustainability as a reward rather than an expense.

The three-bedroom, two-office, 2,500 sq ft home proposes that interior living space be reduced by shifting to less resource-intensive outdoor living. Situated on a tight lot, the home expands upwards hovering over a large covered outdoor patio, which sits next to the at-grade garage. Living space and bedrooms are located on the second and third floors. By spending more time outdoors the owners can expect to reduce energy costs, resources and their carbon footprint.

On top of their expanded outdoor living area, the home relies on natural ventilation, calculated window placement and a wind tower that extends 9′ above the roof to eliminate the need for air conditioning. 

A life-cycle analysis was performed to determine which materials had less embodied energy, and the decision was made to use man-made slate panels, exposed concrete walls and radiant hydronic heating. The home’s design works to reduce environmental air and noise pollution. Additionally, a roof-mounted photovoltaic system offsets 80% of the home’s power demands.

Hover House 3 utilizes numerous sustainability-improved technologies. Embodied energy analysis on major systems resulted in the use of exterior man-made slate panels, exposed concrete walls and radiant hydronic heating and many of the finishes. Natural ventilation is carefully devised with proper window placements and a wind tower that extend 9’ above the roof (the max allowed by code) in order to eliminate air conditioning. Roof-mounted photovoltaic panels offset 80%  of power demands. 

With the exception of interior wall paint, all interior finishes are devised to last indefinitely so that future emissions from finish replacements are minimized or eliminated.

Other sustainability studies aimed specifically at reducing field application air and noise pollution, a little-recognized issue within the sustainability equation. The use of tar-free, cold-applied roofing and the panelized exterior which together eliminate significant amounts of field-construction noise, VOC and CO emissions.


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