Home Tours Q&A with architect Barbara Callas, AIA
Last Updated: April 12, 2012
Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, CA, USA
AIA Los Angeles recently touched base with spring 2012 Home Tours architect, Barbara Callas, AIA, designer of Cor-Ten Cottage.
- For more information on the Home Tours, "Palisades to Brentwood," visit the webpage.
In the Q&A she answers questions on her inspiration in designing the home, her design guides and designing with the environment in mind...
It must be exciting for you and your family to live the experiment of your own architecture? Why the name Cor-Ten Cottage?
My husband, Paul Gurian, he's the writer, and the landscape designer of our home, and came up with the play on words: the house started as one of those beachfront cottages which still populate the area along with many "ranchitas."
What guided your design?
The street level entry had a living room, a bedroom and a bath; the lower level had a kitchen, dining room, and bath. The renovations were in two stages over ten years. The original house was upside-down so I reversed the floor plan by making an open kitchen/living room and bathroom on the entry level with two bedrooms and a bathroom below. After the success of my Canyon House design I wanted to take steel even further. So; I replaced the stucco exterior with steel.
Did you consider environmental issues in the process?
Absolutely! But I am not an extremist. No matter what some may think of the exterior of my home. As an architect I want to experiment. But often that does not serve the client's interest. And, I am not that interested in curbside flash: I want the residence to have a relationship between the exterior and the interior and I think when people see where I live and how I live they will see that practicality and comfort are paramount issues. I was very conscious about keeping the cost modest while using the modern means for reducing the typical demands on the gird and the environment.
How does the Cor-Ten Cottage accomplish that?
The Cor-Ten is made from recycled steel. It is corrugated for thinner material with greater strength. No exterior paint for 80 years! Think of the amount of that pollutant this modest house removes from the man's stream of general pollution. Skylights provide light and ventilate the entire upper levels during most summer conditions. The roof was designed for future solar energy options. A tankless water heating system has reduced gas consumption by an impressive 40 percent plus the 1.6 gallon low-flow toilets add to water savings. As does my husband's drought tolerant landscape design.
What do you think the design does best?
It maximizes a modest site and space to produce the effect of luxury: the master has a spa bath, a small view of the Pacific and the mountains; the living level opens to the tops of Palms; and the stepped garden on a warm full moon evening evokes ancient Babylon in the flicker of the fire feature. Every room partakes in the Gestalt but each has its own special geometry.
For more information on Barbara Callas, AIA please visit Callas Architects, webpage.