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HOUSE No. 1.1

Case Study House proposal

Wetona Drive, Hollywood Hills


We were commissioned in 2010 to produce a contemporary Case Study House proposal by New York based PIN-UP Magazine on a site overlooking the Hollywood resevoir in California.  The Story of the House re-inhabits the very first house to be immortalised on film in Hollywood’s very first movie.


The Story of the House

The house of H.J. Whitley, the ‘Father of Hollywood’ who coined Hollywood’s name and pioneered its real estate development, is the first house to feature in a movie - in Hollywood’s first ever movie.  The Best Man Wins stars Dorothy Davenport as a farmer’s daughter won fair and square in a ploughing match by a handsome lad from the city.  It’s an old trick to disguise an architectural treatise as a love story, this one filmed in Whitley’s garden 100 years ago by the Nestor Film Co, on the run from New York’s copyright lawyers who held a patent on their camera.  Film, house, garden and patent have gone, but the location on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Wilcox Avenue is memorialised by a pigeon shit on google’s lens.  One photograph of Hollywood House No.1, let’s call it, remains in the family archive along with old mother Gigi’s tale of frescoed ceilings and walls of “striking colours… brilliant hues of purple, orange, yellow, red, pink and white blooms” insisting the house remain “freshly painted, as fading paint draws the lustre from any fine home”.  Is it possible to re-live in House No.1? Has the meaning of ‘house’ changed in 100 years?  Let’s construct the old photograph in the hills with 3D print technology in translucent plastic - being developed on a big scale by Contour Crafting in Southern California - inside it a concrete cast of the lost interior, fritted and infused with Gigi’s colours in brilliant pigment. A new place to live emerges in the shadow of House No.1, with subservient spaces big when you want them to be and small when you don’t. You can lie there, think, eat, make, love, see the sun rise over the hill and set in the lake, sometimes alone, and sometimes not.


This house design is available for purchase by a developer keen to explore the possibilities offered by rapid prototyping in the construction industry.




PIN-UP Magazine


Contour Crafting

Pin Up Magazine, New York

Fall/Winter issue, 2010

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