In California's Hollywood Hills, status corresponds to elevation. And no one is looking down on the roof of this new house, which enjoys airship vistas of the Los Angeles Basin and beyond. “The slope is almost a 45-degree plane,” says architect Zoltan Pali. Using an existing foundation, Pali was able to squeeze three full floors of star-quality living space—plus a partial basement—within the legal height limit.

The entry level, one story above the street, contains the major public areas. “It's one big, open space,” Pali says. “Family, kitchen, dining, living, breakfast is all one space, surrounded by glazing.” Interior elements are low or transparent and pulled away from the perimeter walls to open up site lines that run to the horizon. One floor up is the private zone, with guest bedrooms, a glass-walled study that cantilevers over the entry/pool deck, and a master suite that is as transparent as the living spaces below. The lower level holds utility spaces, an exercise room, and a screening room with a steeply raked floor. Glass panels in the polished concrete floor above lights the wine cellar, which also enjoys an underwater window into the pool. The basement spaces consist of a private disco with a dance floor, bar, and DJ booth.

Our judges praised the building for its deft handling of a difficult site, its control of space and view, and its unapologetic expansiveness. “This one is amazing in that the pool is on the roadside,” said one, “but they made it such an appealing space. The transition between indoor and outdoor is just flawless.” Noted another, “I like this one because it has a big-house concept. It has a concept that fits the size of the house.”

Project Credits
Entrant/Architect: Studio Pali Fekete architects (SPF:a), Culver City, Calif.
Builder: William Kent Development, Tarzana, Calif.
Living space: 9,200 square feet
Site: .5 acre
Construction cost: $250 a square foot
Photographer: John Edward Linden (except where noted)

Resources: Bathroom plumbing fittings: Hansgrohe; Bathroom plumbing fixtures: Kohler; Entry doors/patio doors: Fleetwood Aluminum Products; Exterior siding/wood flooring/interior paneling: Weber; Kitchen plumbing fittings/fixtures: Dornbracht; Lighting fixtures: Artemide and Lightwave; Oven: Gaggenau; Refrigerator: Sub-Zero; Roofing: GAF; Tile flooring: Ann Sacks; Windows: U.S. Aluminum.