The 2-4-6-8 House in Venice looks like it might be a child’s playhouse, in style if not in scale, but it is a real residence befitting adult-sized people. Completed in 1978, it is also one of the earliest designs by renowned Los Angeles architects Thom Mayne and Michael Rotondi of Morphosis.
The small, cube-shaped building sits atop a two-car garage behind a single-family house, perched on top of concrete blocks facing an alley. It has a pyramidal roof and is clad in simple gray asphalt shingles punctuated by bright window surround elements. The dominant decorative accents are sunshine-yellow, glass-free “window frames” that pop out beyond the house’s simple, unornamented aluminum windows.
The house’s unusual name comes from these windows, which progressively increase in these sizes.
Red and blue lintel elements add even more color, contributing to the cheerful, cartoon-like feel of the entire design. Mayne and Rotondi intended the 2-4-6-8 House to feel friendly for residents, with a do-it-yourself quality; to that end, they made the interior heating and ventilation controls manually operable through tactile gadgets that invite users to fiddle with them. The Deconstructivist-style building could not be a better fit for the lively setting of Venice, where the human scale of walkers predominates over the scale of the automobile, and colorful eccentricity is not just tolerated, but expected.