It’s said that this is the greatest architectural photo ever:

It’s Julius Shulman’s 1960 photo of Case Study House 22 – one of several model modernist homes, this one (Pierre Koenig’s Stahl House) in the Hollywood Hills overlooking Los Angeles.

The house (and the photograph) served as the inspiration for Zurich architectural firm E2A to propose a vertical model: High-Rise, An Apartment Building for London:

“We deliberately renounced the stacking as a generic interpretation of suburban, single-family home gardens. The high-rise conveys much more the central principles of a home – panoramic views, open space, interior-exterior relationships, and privacy – in an urban interpretation. The primary advantage of this typology is the potential of spatial sequencing and individual design options for each platform: whether a family, a couple, or a single person – we developed an unfettered, interpretative space, in which the deliberately unfinished form creates a basis for individual design ideas.”

Translate the architalk, and, really, what’s the big deal?  Open-plan highrise homes have been pretty standard fare in Vancouver for some time.  Both offer through height what the Case Study house achieved through geography: an elevated view of the city and landscape.

Bayshore Gardens


  1. Marketing a vision, good feeling or lifestyle critical for any product, be it cars, a vacation or a condo.

    Most highrises advertise a great view and an open floor plan, usually from the penthouse on the top floor, with prices starting at XXX .. using the price from the worst, lower floor unit overlooking the noise parkade entrance with typically no view whatsoever.

    Are there studies talking about more typical condos in high-rises with typically NO VIEW or a view into their neighbors buildings, i.e. a fish bowl ?

  2. The case study highrise image reminds me of the recent dystopian movie “High-rise” with Tom Hiddleston, a fairly critical look at the alienating life in concrete sky-boxes.

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