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When Tim Tattu, a Zen Buddhist monk and hospice nurse, approached me to design a house for him, he had two very specific needs: the first was for the house to be as sustainable as possible; the second was for it to be sexy – because even a monk/male nurse wants to have fun from time to time.

Bored with a design for a generic box of a house that came with the purchase of the lot, Tim gave me a simple yet evocative sketch depicting his intent, which began an ongoing interaction that shaped his home.

The end result combines exactly what Tim was hoping for the project – for sustainability, the use of steel cut directly from Revit files reduced construction waste; the insulated panels, deep overhangs, and operable windows reduced energy consumption; and the herb and vegetable garden provides Tim with home-grown meals.

Tim has listed both units on AirBnB; he lives in whichever one is not rented, giving him not only the lack of attachment his Zen practice demands, but also exactly the social life he was seeking.

Tattuplex was included in the recently-published sixth edition of Gebhard and Winter’s “An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles,” described as “a two-level duplex hanging off a hillside. Notable is the experimental use of an economical, prefabricated, hexagonal steel structure and everyday materials. The impression is of a remote hillside shrine.”

Contractor: Ken Stack
Photographer: Taiyo Watanabe
Renderings: Elaine Kwong

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