In Brief

Ambivalent House: Is this the home of the future?

Futuristic, otherworldly orb wins architecture competition to design a house to sit underneath the famed Hollywood sign

It looks like an alien spacecraft or a meteor crashed into the hills of Los Angeles, but this otherworldly blob is actually a design for the house of the future.

The "Ambivalent House" has been declared the winner of a competition to build a futuristic design on a site located beneath the iconic Hollywood sign.

For years, this plot of land on the famed Mulholland Drive has been barren. But several years ago, LA dentist Steve Alper snapped it up and, alongside architectural research organisation Arch Out Loud, set out to find a proposal for design project that would "forever leave its mark on the Los Angeles landscape".

He wanted to "make [the site] a story as opposed to just another luxury home", writes Archinect.

The idea, says Arch Out Loud, was to ignite a dialogue using the competition to explore the potential of the site and the future of residential design in general.

More than 500 designers from around the world submitted designs that demonstrated "innovative technology and integrative environmental strategies", guided by a brief that "capitalised on the iconic prominence of the site".

A winning blob

Ambivalent House took first place, although it had stiff competition from runners-up the Hollywood Hill – a grass-topped building – and the Last House, which is described as a "futuristic doughnut" by the Daily Mail.

The winning creators at LA-based architect company Hirsuta describe their spheroid construction as the "offspring of more geometrically perfect round houses".  

Wrapped in photovoltaic film, the structure – labelled by Domain as "more of a Hollywood film prop than a family home" – functions as a giant solar panel.

In addition to these green credentials, it floats low to the ground on a single column so that, over the course of a year, it rotates 360 degrees.

Hirsuta, whose previous projects include "Jonathan's room", a children's bedroom inspired by classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are, says the rotating feature would inevitably produce new profiles and elevations, ensuring the house "could not be viewed the same way twice".

What's next?

It may be a while before the building appears in tourists' photographs. Arch Out Loud says there are no plans to construct the house yet, nor is Alper committed to commissioning the winning design.

A "combination of ideas that were submitted to the competition" may be considered, said Arch Out Loud's Nick Graham.

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