The contemporary Solar Umbrella House in Venice, California is a renovation that garnered much attention for its innovative sustainable features and striking design. Owners and the principals of Pugh + Scarpa Architects, Angela Brooks and Lawrence Scarpa, designed this home to be both economical and solar-powered – virtually off the power grid. Inspired by Paul Rudolph’s 1953 Umbrella House design, the architects reinvented, updated and upgraded his original plan using photovoltaic solar panels which deliver 100 per cent of the home’s power. The modern Solar Umbrella House also features solar hydronic heating panels, a storm-water recycling system, and environmentally friendly construction methods and materials, inside and out. The property boasts two frontages – typical to its Venice locale – with a rear addition incorporating the preceding 1920s bungalow and the actual “solar umbrella”. Built using heat-retaining concrete and glazed overhangs and windows that open to allow for cross ventilation, this house manages its own interior temperature. Radiant in-floor heating, powered by one of three solar hot-water panels, ups the temps when chill sets in. The remaining two panels heat things up for the household water supply and the pool. Contemporary interiors feature a simple and efficient layout, offering a combination of private and open-concept living spaces. The Solar Umbrella House won Pugh + Scarpa Architects their second AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Project Award. Pugh + Scarpa Architects. Photography by Marvin Rand.