urban garden oasis in LA: interview with matthew royce on designing multifamily 'veil house'

urban garden oasis in LA: interview with matthew royce on designing multifamily 'veil house'

the Veil House by Matthew Royce Architecture

 

Matthew Royce Architecture’s ‘Veil House’ in Venice Beach, LA, offers a fresh take on the conventional single-family home by incorporating a multifamily program that accommodates two families, generations, friends, or neighbors. The design incorporates a dense landscape that surrounds the two homes, creating a series of veiled thresholds that provide privacy and tranquility. The entrance is thoughtfully designed with a combination of plant walls, metallic screens, perforated block walls, and lush ground cover that offers a smooth transition between the busy urban street and the serene private sanctuary. The interior of the Veil House is designed to accommodate the owner’s wishes to incorporate bespoke furniture and art pieces that create a unique living environment. ‘The level of design coordination and execution was very high, and made it a big challenge but also gave a rewarding result for all involved,’ shares lead architect Matthew Royce with designboom.

 

Besides aesthetics and high-level design, the project also prioritizes sustainability: Royce collaborated with landscape architect Michael Braden to minimize water usage in an area that is prone to drought. ‘I advise my clients to incorporate as many sustainable features as they can, which is especially important in the Los Angeles area where electricity is increasingly costly, and water becoming more scarce.’ the lead architect explains. To learn more about the design approach, sustainability features, and the challenges of Veil House, designboom spoke with Matthew Royce. Read the interview in full below.

urban garden oasis in LA: interview with matthew royce on designing multifamily 'veil house'
the entrance is thoughtfully designed with a combination of plant walls, metallic screens, and perforated block walls | all images courtesy of Edmund Sumner

 

 

interview with Matthew Royce

 

designboom (DB): Can you describe your design philosophy and approach to the Veil House project?

 

Matthew Royce (MR): The main design move was to create an urban garden oasis by fusing the architecture and landscape together in a harmonious series of veiled thresholds.

 

DB: How would you describe the experience of a visitor who enters and explores the project?

 

MR: Strolling just a few blocks from the famed shopping street of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, from the street, you are first struck by the intense, yet soothing landscape composed of desert succulents and aloe trees. Passing through the main entry gate, you walk through the perforated block privacy wall which is adorned with dense planting. At this point, the house comes into view, veiled by a delicate floating metal screen. Passing under the screen you then enter the privacy of the interior which opens up expansively to the main living area and private outdoor courtyard beyond. Once in the courtyard, you feel the privacy, quiet, and comfort of an inner sanctuary complete with a small pool, dining area, and firepit.

urban garden oasis in LA: interview with matthew royce on designing multifamily 'veil house'
the main design move was to create an urban garden oasis by fusing the architecture and landscape together

 

 

DB: How did you balance the need for privacy and calmness with the desire to create a sense of openness and expansiveness?

 

MR: The use of the veiled thresholds to create a journey from the gritty street allowed me to create the openness and expansiveness on the interior as a private, calm everyday experience for the client.

 

DB: How did you incorporate sustainable and low-water usage features into the landscaping design? Is sustainability something that you prioritize in all your projects?

 

MR: Yes, I advise my clients to incorporate as many sustainable features as they can, which is especially important in the Los Angeles area where electricity is increasingly costly, and water becoming more scarce. For this project, we focused mainly on using extremely low water usage plants such as desert succulents and aloe trees that are all native to the area. We also incorporated stormwater capture tanks and planters which provide a good chunk of the irrigation during the rainy season. This was all carefully designed in collaboration with our landscape architect, Michael Braden.

urban garden oasis in LA: interview with matthew royce on designing multifamily 'veil house'
the use of the veiled thresholds allowed for openness and expansiveness

 

 

DB: What were the biggest challenges you faced during the design and construction process, and how did you address them?

 

MR: The biggest challenge was the degree of unique, detailed elements the owner wanted to incorporate. For example, the outdoor concrete dining table is supported by a single small boulder, which we spent several days researching and picking out of a boulder yard. He also wanted to use bespoke lighting for his amazing art pieces which all had to be calibrated and installed perfectly. The level of design coordination and execution was very high, and made it a big challenge but also gave a rewarding result for all involved.

urban garden oasis in LA: interview with matthew royce on designing multifamily 'veil house'
passing through the main entry gate, you walk through the perforated block privacy wall which is adorned with dense planting

urban garden oasis in LA: interview with matthew royce on designing multifamily 'veil house'
the residence is enveloped by a soothing landscape composed of desert succulents and aloe trees

urban garden oasis in LA: interview with matthew royce on designing multifamily 'veil house'
for this project, the architect focused on using extremely low water usage plants such as desert succulents

urban garden oasis in LA: interview with matthew royce on designing multifamily 'veil house'
once in the courtyard, you feel the privacy, quiet, and comfort

urban garden oasis in LA: interview with matthew royce on designing multifamily 'veil house'
the client requested bespoke lighting to highlgiht his expansive art collection

urban garden oasis in LA: interview with matthew royce on designing multifamily 'veil house'

interview-matthew-royce-veil-house-designboom-full-01

‘the biggest challenge was the degree of unique, detailed elements the owner wanted to incorporate’ shares Matthew Royce

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