Earth is the material with the most potential because it is the original source material.
~ Michael Heizer
The DTS Project House Landscape consists of both the land upon which the building sits and the land which you see from the building and grounds. The landscape palette addresses both considerations. The material and vegetation palette accentuates and enhances the immediate existing land features, helps clarify and give character to the new manmade features, connects both the interior and exterior experience of the house with nature, and endeavors to make the larger landscape of the neighborhood and city part of the DTS Project House’s landscape experience.
HARDSCAPE MATERIAL PALETTE
The DTS Project House hardscape palette continues the building materials and themes out into the landscape. This is among the strategies for integrating inside and outside, integrating architecture and landscape, and integrating the natural environment and human experience. There is a particular emphasis on materials related to the earth and natural processes. Rammed earth, rock filled gabions, and decomposed granite all literally come from the earth. Corten steel ages naturally and fulfills its potential with the passage of time. Hardscape materials, such as gravel ground cover, do not require maintenance (including watering).
The hardscape palette consists of elemental materials like earth, stone, and metals. Hardscape materials are installed in their raw state with no finishing required. Although most hardscape materials are natural their installations are expressly manmade. The detailing and treatment of materials like the rammed earth and rock filled gabions is architectonic accentuating the inherent organic qualities of the hardscape materials. Each hardscape material has inherently compelling qualities, but each material was also chosen for how it contributes to the ensemble. Hard edged angular gravel accentuates the foliage; excavated rock contrasts with manmade steel; absorbing natural rammed earth sets off reflective stainless steel.
It is purposeful that it is hard to distinguish certain elements as a building element or a landscape element. The choice of hardscape materials contributes to this lack of distinction. Are the rock filled gabions a part of the building or part of the landscape. Hopefully, from most perspectives the rock filled gabions are simultaneously a part of both.
The value of the plant in the composition, like the value of color in paintings, is always relative. The plant is made valuable by the contrast or harmony created by its relation to the other plants.
~ Burle Marx
LANDSCAPE PLANTING PALETTE
The DTS Project House plant and vegetation palette provides landscape solutions to practical design issues along with contributing to varied sensory and spatial experiences that connect the buildings inhabitants to nature and natural phenomena. The palette includes planting of various mature heights and levels of foliage density to provide differing levels of privacy and screening from neighbors and streets, as well as purposely blocking and framing specific views of the architecture from neighboring properties and public vantage points. Plants and vegetation are also used and specifically chosen to block and frame views from the house interior and the property’s exterior vantage points. Installed size, growth rates, and mature sizes were relevant considerations for planting providing screening and privacy and were balanced against costs and planting feasibility. Certain plants were picked for their ability on their own or to combine with the building to provide enclosure and create outdoor spaces. More vertical plants create a horizontal enclosure open to the sky and other plants provide a natural canopy making the enclosure more encompassing
The vegetation and planting palette purposely provides diverse sizes, structures, textures, colors, and fragrances. The palette contains plants that bloom during all different seasons so that the planting has color and interest continuously throughout the year. Included plants have differing growth rates with plants that are almost immediately mature upon planting and those that require the passage of time to mature. Differing plants attract varied pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, among other birds. The planting palette continues the DTS Project House’s dual themes of contemplation and participation. Certain plants are chosen for their visual qualities as they are primarily looked at from different perspectives, such as in elevation and or from above or below – they are experienced from a contemplative distance and detachment. In contrast, other plants are chosen to be experienced in close proximity with direct participation in nature – to be touched or brushed up against – close enough to smell or touch their peeling bark. Often the same plants serve both dualities depending on your location on the property.
The planting palette includes plants installed in a variety of contexts and conditions from differing ground covers, differing interior and exterior planters, and vertical and hydroponic conditions without any soil. Plants and ground covers from gravel to stone to soil complement each other. Planters, from corten steel boxes to low bowls to vertical cylinders, are designed and fabricated specific to their location and any larger function they serve in addition to containing their plants. A living wall – vertical garden and a hanging garden incorporating a palette of both green and colorful annuals and perennials are inspired by the work of French Botanist Patrick Blanc among others creating modern green walls and other modern treatments.
The DTS Project House planting palette is the expression of art, technology, and sustainability integrated. The planting species are chosen and organized so as to provide sensory and spatial experiences that make the landscape an aesthetic amenity. The planting palette scientifically responds to Southern California’s Mediterranean climate and the microclimate of the Hollywood Hills and specific locations on the site. The vegetation choices consider the almost constant breezes and wind, the ever present fire danger, water usage and other required resources, and maintenance and efforts necessary to maintain thriving plants. Technology, such as water delivery, is an integral aspect of the implementation of the vertical and hanging gardens using hydroponics. The planting palette is among the design elements intended to promote the inhabitants well-being. The planting palette directly engages the DTS Project House inhabitants and connects natural processes and phenomena to the daily experience of the DTS Project House.
Landscape moves us in a manner more nearly analogous to the action of music than anything else.
~ Frederick Law Olmstead