Pink Flamingo La Jolla


La Jolla, CA

our approach

Perched atop the hills of Mt. Soledad, Pink Flamingo is a tiny home and retreat pavilion nestled into the southeastern hills of La Jolla, California. The inspiration for the design comes from the physiology of a flamingo. Elongated cervical (neck) vertebrae allow the flamingo to twist its head around completely, providing a full 360° field of view while standing high above its surroundings.

The design of the Pink Flamingo pavilion begins with a set of squares, or vertebrae, that overlap and rotate. This transformation of the typical orthogonal building footprint introduces multiple additional view planes, affording pavilion visitors a vast and panoramic view of La Jolla and the greater San Diego area. To further define the space both within and on top of the building, overlapping masses and geometry are merged, split, and offset to create a series of spaces, including a hybrid bedroom/living space, workspace, and a rooftop patio — all equipped with unique, sweeping views of the surrounding hills.

The warm hues of pink-pigmented concrete are cast in place to create architectural features such as the building, outdoor kitchen, and fixed planters, while Corten steel complements it by articulating screening walls and a razor-thin feature stair that provides visitors access to the pinnacle of Mt. Soledad. The material selection is informed by the dramatic sky and lighting in La Jolla, aiming to emulate the range of ambient colors prevalent in the area, from a soft sunset-pink to a burning-amber summer sun.

The landscape, designed in tandem with the architecture, repeats the pink concrete motif with site walls terracing down the land's natural slope, providing a subtle articulation of the dramatic slope while also stabilizing and reinforcing the steep grade change from curb cut to building arrival. The sinuous decomposed gravel driveway meanders down the hillside, choreographing a series of views that can't be seen from anywhere else in the area. Swan Hill Olive Trees act as framing mechanisms and shade features throughout the procession to the pavilion.

The bedroom and workspace each have private patios connected by a linear deck that floats above the hillside. An infinity-edge pool punctuates the transition from the "built" to the "natural," allowing visitors to get as close to the edge of the hillside as possible.

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