Nakahouse by XTEN Architecture, Los Angeles, California, USA. As featured in Black

One brilliant black building to see in Los Angeles

In LA? Looking for an architecturally themed trip this weekend? Then try this house, from our new book, Black

A single-family residence built by XTEN architecture, Nakahouse is at once integrated with the Hollywood Hills in which it sits and stands deliberately distinct from the surroundings in which it nestles. It is not an original structure, as the architects were obliged to keep the base of the 1960s building from which this wild new work extends.

Its interiors, which command magnificent, uninterrupted views of the hills including the famous Hollywood sign, are immaculate, gleaming white - a cantilevered terrace extends from the kitchen and living rooms. The extensions are designed to maximize views from all sides.

While the interior screams white, however, it is countered by an all-black exterior, finished in black Meoded Venetian plaster, a new line of antique-style lime plaster, made by the Los Angeles paint and plaster firm Meoded. The purpose of this, explain the architects, is to“act as a net, holding the home in place, while still allowing it to move in interesting directions. The black exteriors add definition to an interior that tries to escape it.”


Black: Architecture in Monochrome
Black: Architecture in Monochrome

The black has a more straightforward role too: to smother what might have been as gross an addition to the landscape as a magnified image of whitened teeth. The structure is further integrated into the hills by its natural means of cooling and heating, using terrace, sliding glass arrangements and chimneys rather than air conditioning, allowing it to fit neatly into Hollywood’s natural landscape.

Check back next week for another black architecture wonder near you, and to see more of architecture’s dark side order a copy of Black: Architecture in Monochrome here.