Manipulating light and space, architect Edward Ogosta redeems a plain Culver City bungalow
By Kelly Vencil Sanchez
November 26, 2018
Photo courtesy Steve King
College of Environmental Design alumnus Edward Ogosta's (B.A. Arch. '97) “quiet architecture” strips away and makes space, without compromising the integrity of the original form. The renovation of his Culver City bungalow retains 97 percent of its original space. This contrasts with the typical process of home renovation in Southern California, which favors a tear-down and rebuiild approach. For Ogosta and his wife, maintaining the original structure was key. The intact quality of the neighborhood homes also influenced their decision to purchase the home.
Ogosta, a second-generation Angeleno, has been interested in clean, minimal spaces since he was a boy growing up in Palos Verdes. The area wasn’t exactly a hotbed of cutting-edge contemporary architecture, but the library he frequented was an A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons design, and his high school was a later work by Richard Neutra. Both buildings, he says, seeped into his consciousness. Later, while earning architecture degrees at U.C. Berkeley and Harvard, he steeped himself in Southern California’s Light and Space movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
Influenced by the movement, Ogosta's inital approach to the interior space of the original structure was to strip away, “simplifying and clarifying until I can’t add anything or take anything away.” This approach tied together the rest of the renovation process; while the exterior of the 450-square foot expansion called back to the neighborhood vernacular, the addition of skylights, large expanses of windows, bleached wood floors and white walls contribute to a feeling of airiness and synchronicity with the external environment. Ogosta's experiment, a subtle and gentle revivification of extant structures, has won AIA awards at the local, state and national level.
Through this project, Ogosta hopes to show a thoughtful alternative to renovating the city's existing housing stock. “I want to show that there’s a subtler and quieter version of architecture in Los Angeles that’s about things like quality of light. I don’t buy into the mentality that square footage equals quality of life. I’ve never felt that I was living with less.
“For so many years, the work that architects were doing in Los Angeles was about shouting for attention,” Ogosta adds. “I’m for innovation and experimentation, but it’s got to mean something—it’s got to be purposeful.”
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