The placement of the Nuss-Mashaal residence on its site responds to the goal of creating a passive solar residence while respecting the scale of its Venice neighborhood. By setting back the two-story volume an extra 20 feet from the required 16’-6” front yard setback, and the one-story volume an extra ten feet, the 4,000 square foot building mass is significantly softened to the street.
Solar orientation is optimized though the creation of a long, thin volume that exposes maximum wall area to the South. The long South façade allows for winter solar heat gain while the upper level volume cantilevers over the main level, shading its moveable glazing walls from unwanted summer sun. The upper level bedrooms utilize thin overhangs for shading and operable windows and skylights for passive ventilation in each individual room. A roof garden helps to insulate the main level study below, provides a garden off the master bedroom deck and separates this private space from the street. The thermally massive North wall of the residence has strategically placed openings for diffuse light and cool air, while the expanse of the entire mass wall acts as the anchor of the passive solar strategy.
The Nuss-Mashaal residence demonstrates the application of W3 Architects’ “two-story passive solar house” strategy, accommodates all the clients’ programmatic requirements and was completed within the specified budget.