Commissioned to build a modern house in a fire-prone canyon of the Angeles National Forest, L.A. architect Russell K. Johnson sought to create a house that would last for generations — and reduce the threat of wildfire. Home section contributor Chris Iovenko interviewed the architect about the resulting design, dubbed Sycamore House. The exterior is finished in smooth, troweled stucco applied to blocks of Rastra, a fire-resistant, termite-resistant, insulating material made of concrete and recycled Styrofoam. The L-shaped wall near the entrance serves as a design flourish but has a practical purpose as well: earthquake support for the light-gauge steel skeleton of the house.
Russell K. Johnson