The masterful integration of over 130 protected trees is the crowning achievement of architect Noah Walker’s stunning “upside-down” house—now on the market for $32 million.
Though it was awarded an AIA award for architecture on its completion in 2015, the contemporary home at 9601 Oak Pass in Beverly Hills actually isn’t the most awe-inspiring aspect of this hillside estate. That honor belongs to the trees. The 3.5-acre property is peppered with more than 130 protected Coast live oaks, evergreens native to California that can live up to 250 years. With these green giants firmly enshrined on the land, architect Noah Walker carefully planned an 8,000-square-
foot main home (plus an approximately 2,000-square-foot guest house) that not only doesn’t disturb them, but also spotlights them. Their presence led to an atypical layout for the home, with the bedrooms on the lower level, embedded within the hillside, and the shared spaces at the top (a cinema, gym and wine cellar are burrowed in even deeper). The nickname “the upside-down house” comes from this setup, compared to traditional houses with common spaces on the bottom floor and private spaces a level up. “The natural topography of the property requires entry to the house from the top, and it didn’t make sense to enter into a series of bedrooms,” explains Walker. “I also wanted the house to feel small when coming into the property and then to unfold as you descend into it. So we treated the public parts of the house—the kitchen, living and dining rooms—like a pavilion.” The architect also cleverly rotated spaces to take advantage of the landscape’s best views and to highlight the trees as natural art. The best example is the 75-foot lap pool with an infinity edge on three sides (shown above) slipped directly beneath the branches of one of the estate’s most magnificent oaks. “That big oak is special, and I wanted to feature it in the reflection of the water,” says Walker. The result of all this is a one-of-a-kind home that puts nature first—yet still includes every luxury. Listed by Michael Chen, Tomer Fridman and Adam Rosenfeld, Compass