For fans of modern architecture, California is a dream destination, and Los Angeles is its shining, glittering capital of design. Since the middle of the 20th century, modernist architects have flocked to the City of Angels, using its stunning desert landscape as a canvas to imagine a more perfect, beautiful world.
From Richard Neutra and Craig Ellwood to Franck Gehry and John Portman, LA’s roll call of amazing architects is impressive. The most famous constructions are also pretty special. Eames House, with its eye-catching red, blue and yellow panels, the Bass House with its experimental use of several prefabricated Douglas fir plywood products, or the Sheats-Goldstein residence, one of LA’s most iconic homes thanks to its appearance in films like The Big Lebowski and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
But the real beauty of modern architecture in Los Angeles is found in its minimalist designs. And here, there is a hidden beauty, a secret known only to the savviest of LA design fans, but one that is well worth seeking out and exploring. So next time you are cruising from LA and in need of an architectural fix, seek out The Glass Pavillion, Steve Hermann’s tour de force.
Located in Santa Barbara, just along the coast from LA, the Glass Pavillion sprawls across two floors, a 13,875 square foot masterpiece, designed and built as a luxury home. It boasts five bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, a stunning kitchen/diner with an attached wine cellar, and a gallery taking up most of the bottom floor, to display the original owner’s collection of vintage automobiles.
Bedrooms, living rooms, and even bathrooms look out through floor-to-ceiling glass over the surrounding landscape (a mixture of manicured lawns and tangled oak trees). The Glass Pavillion is a landmark in modernist architecture, redefining what the very concept of the style can achieve, and it is hard to think of a more impressive, or more beautiful structure in LA, or even in the whole of California.
It builds on the legacy of such great works of art and architecture as Mies Van der Roh’s Barcelona Pavillion, Farnsworth House, and even the Glass House of Phillip Johnson. It is a generational construction and rewards anyone who discovers its remarkable beauty.
The house is constructed almost entirely from glass, displaying and presenting the occupants and interiors as works of art, while simultaneously allowing the residents to be both inside and surrounded by the natural world outside.
By using an ingenious structure of enormous steel beams, the house appears to float above the lawn, weightless and ethereal, made of air and light rather than metal, brick, and glass.
Steve Hermann has set a new benchmark for ultramodern design and architecture with this fantastic creation. As a piece of art, it is incredible, and it also functions as a wonderful home, with no expense having been spared in its construction. Built in 2010 and originally put on the market for $30 million, it is arguably the finest architectural construction in Los Angeles this millennium.
Modernist architecture can sometimes be off-putting, impractical, or difficult to take in. But the Glass Pavillion is a minimalist marvel, all at once beautiful, functional, and impressive in its construction. The luxury of its interiors, fixtures, and fittings demonstrates how thoughtful the design was, with every possible whim and desire catered for, while the use of Star Fire glass (usually reserved for commercial displays) is a sign of how important the inside/outside concept is. A truly stunning work of art, this should be a place of pilgrimage for all modern architecture and design fans for years to come!