Laxmi Nivas

Diamond Bar, California

Year Completed: 2020
Design Team: Winn Wittman, AIA
Nidal Hamida (California Architect of Record)
Joe Fisher, AIA
Builder: Intension Design/Build

The design for this house, located 45 minutes east of Los Angeles, drew inspiration from mod-ern Asian architecture for its minimalist simplicity, combined with Hollywood sophistication and glamour. Designed according to the principles of the Hindu spatial organization framework of Vastu, the house overlooks dramatic views of the San Gabriel Mountains and is home to an extended family.

From the street, the house appears as a one-story structure with a low, strongly horizontal pro-file, its simple stucco walls complemented by vertical slats that break up the large surfaces. Two garages, placed slightly askew to accommodate the pie-shaped lot, bookend the house and define the edges of the motor court. With the house built into the hillside, only the second floor is visible from the street. An entry courtyard containing an auspicious Tulsi tree is visible from the main living room, as is a traditional Hindu Mandir temple.

From the street vantage, a simple central clerestory floating delicately above the central vol-ume hints at the transparency on the house’s other side. At the back, a second floor is tucked underneath, recessed below the wider upper floor. This juxtaposition makes the second floor appear to float; a perception reinforced by the terraced gardens falling away along the site’s natural slope. A Japanese-style rock garden and black-bottomed reflecting pool at the base terminates the cascading gardens, which the homeowner will use to grow fruits and vegeta-bles.

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