Dan Brunn’s Residential Renovation Honors Original Architect Frank Gehry

Design Featuring ‘Bold Sweeping Moves’ Recognized With Three Industry Awards



Dan Brunn’s award-winning design for Hide Out showcases his signature minimalist aesthetic, while incorporating design cues from the home’s original architect Frank Gehry, FAIA. Photos: Brandon Shigeta. Click here for high-resolution images.

LOS ANGELES: Dan Brunn, AIA, Principal of Dan Brunn Architecture, has received three awards for the inventive renovation of Hide Out, a 3,600-square-foot single-family home in Los Angeles, CA, using his signature minimalist aesthetic, while incorporating design cues from the original architect Frank Gehry, FAIA.  The project has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles (AIA│LA) with the Residential Architecture Award in the Adaptive Reuse/Renovations/Restoration category; Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) with the Los Angeles Architectural Award in the Renovation category; and online architecture resource Architizer as the A+Award Popular Choice Winner in the Architecture +Stairs Category.

Homeowner and visual artist James Jean hired Brunn to renovate his private residence into an open-air plan that accommodates work and display space, as well as domestic necessities.  The home formerly belonged to the Janss Family and served as a hub associated with the contemporary L.A. art scene in the 1970s and 1980s.  Although Gehry was commissioned to design the original plans, the Jansses modified the home during construction and eliminated many signature details.  To accommodate the program and site’s history, Brunn set out to create a minimalist studio home with nods to the architectural shapes and material palette famously used by Gehry at the time.

Upon arrival, the home’s sculptural statement emerges as an expressive stairway.  Shifting shapes and angles are in homage to Gehry as well as to Jean, who features flowing arabesques in his work.  Handcrafted, the walnut staircase extenuates the verticality of the space and creates a dynamic swoosh shape to capture light through the slats and accentuate the golden wood tones.  Planes continue to shift as one moves around the stairs, creating varied experiences going up and down.

“This renovation of a Frank Gehry-designed house has some exceptional elements to it, along with a very inventive way of using the staircase to convey movement and light,” said the AIA│LA Residential Architecture Award jury, which celebrates excellence in contemporary residential design.  “With just a couple of bold sweeping moves and gorgeous natural woods, Dan Brunn has created a very successful renovation.  And if Frank Gehry hasn’t put his stamp of approval on this restoration, we imagine he would be pleased.”

Brunn instilled a feeling of openness and continuum throughout the first-floor home/work space.  Interiors are meant to serve as a gallery-like setting for the homeowner’s changing art displays.  The rectangular skylight—the only architectural detail executed from Gehry’s plan—remains as a fundamental design element.  Brunn reimagined it with stretch fabric to create an ambient glow and installed LED lights that can emit color.

A 14′ x 12′ pivoting wall at the far end of the house either hides or reveals a multi-purpose room.  A built-in murphy bed emerges from the floor-to-ceiling bookcase to transform the library into a guest room.  Taking cues from Japanese tea houses, Brunn designed a wooden box-like volume within the space for a variety of activities: social gatherings, meditation, or music performance.  Walnut planks create canted walls that radiate out from the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass wall, with the wood surface rising along the slanted ceiling.  A lush Japanese garden is visible and reachable through glass sliders and features traditional plant species.

Upstairs, natural light seeps into the stairwell tunnel through a glass-enclosed open-air meditative garden accessible through the master bathroom.  Previously boxed in with no access to the outdoors, this area was designed as a garden space by Brunn to acknowledge Gehry’s original intention to make the area an encased greenhouse.  This respite organizes the second level, and expands the otherwise small landing.

Dan Brunn Architecture designed the architecture and interiors of Hide Out.  Additional project team members included Realco Creations (contractor), Salas Design Company (structural engineer), Kaisei-en (landscape design), and Brandon Shigeta (photography).  This is Brunn’s first AIA│LA Residential Architecture Award and Architizer A+Award Popular Choice Win.  It’s his third LABC Los Angeles Architectural Award.  He previously won for Flip Flop in 2015 and Yojisan Sushi in 2014.

Los Angeles-based Dan Brunn Architecture, founded in 2005 by Dan Brunn, AIA, develops commercial and residential projects worldwide.  Brunn utilizes provocative spatial choreography to harmonize light with volume.  Inspired by the Bauhaus architecture of his native Tel Aviv, he reinterprets Modernist principles in minimalist designs for living, shopping, and dining.  Brunn’s portfolio includes furniture design that addresses the needs of living room, bedroom, and bath with highly functional, sophisticated, and streamlined solutions.