The Diamondhouse is a music studio extension to a house tucked away deep in a canyon, situated on a very gentle hillside, with minimal access and little building space. Direct sunlight reaches the site for only a few hours a day.

Diamondhouse Plan Diagram

The geotechnical conditions at the site were extremely challenging, requiring caissons as high as 30 feet to support new walls and foundations. A complex regulatory network regulates the height, width, depth and specific configuration of retaining walls required to construct the project.

Given these constraints, the extensions are carefully positioned between the existing structure and the majestic hillside to influence the landscape and create the surrounding programmatic exterior space (firepit, terrace). A series of wall planes folds over and over the building to create a roof rail and privacy for the sundeck.

The building materials system was developed to link the new expansion to the natural landscape and also to reduce the visual scale of the building. The facade pattern is made from natural elements taken from the canyon site; abstracted, scaled and stacked throughout the building in laser cut fiber cement panels. The panels provide a subtle quality to the building geometry that has hard edges and is programmatically pushed.

The daylight accentuates the etched lines and patterned edges of the cement panels, which in direct sunlight look as thin as a ceramic vase. At night the building looks more volumetric and crystal. At night, the lighting from inside the building also shows the shape of a lantern with holes, illuminating the gorge’s terraces.