McKinley Residence

Project Description 

This residence, home to Hertz and his family, was designed in two phases. The first phase featured two separate volumes connected by a bridge. Some years later the adjacent lot became available. It is now a compound made up of four discrete two-story buildings linked by three enclosed bridges that all face onto the courtyard, in a style one might call Balinese Modern.

His solution was to make the house the greenest house of its size he’d ever seen. Hertz used this house as a case study for green building techniques. An array of 20 solar collector panels on the roof help generate about 70 percent of the home’s electricity needs, and other sections of the roof are given over to flat-plate collectors that provide hot water to the water heater, which then sends it into a radiant heating system in the concrete floors.

The materials used were chosen carefully to support environmental sustainability and the design intent. Recycled and FSC certified sustainable woods such as Ipe, Mahogany, and Fir, are used throughout the house. And much of the concrete is Syndecrete®, which contains about 41 percent recycled content and is twice as light, with twice the compressive strength, of normal concrete. The material acts inside the house as a kind of “solar sink” for passive solar energy transfer, storing up the sun’s warmth during the day, and thus keeping it from overheating the interior, and then slowly releasing that heat during the night. Syndecrete® flooring was chosen for several reasons; it eliminates mold and dust caused by carpet, requires less maintenance, and is more environmentally sensitive than carpet, wood, or other floor finishes. In order to maintain excellent indoor air quality, the architect used zero VOC paint, and eliminated a forced air system and carpeted floors, progenitors of mold and dust.

This building is a successful study in architecture that is both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally responsible and was rewarded the Sustainable Living Award by the Eco Home network.


Environmental Features

  • Solar Energy – an array of 20 solar  Photovoltaic panels on the roof supply around 90% of the home’s energy needs

  •  Evacuated Tube collectors and Flat Plate Collectors – providing domestic  hot water to the water heater and pool solar hot water.

  • Vacuum tubing on the roof, which uses a parabolic collector to focus the sun’s rays, provides additional hot water

  • Recycled FSC certified sustainable woods such as Ipe, Mahogany and Fir

  • Much of the concrete is Syndecrete®, a light-weight concrete that uses 41% recycled content

  • Zero VOC paints

  • Concrete floors

  • High performance heat-mirror glazing and abundant natural lighting.

  • The pool system uses an ionization and silver, copper and Platinum oxidizer, eliminating the need for chlorine

  • Solar Hyrdonic radiant system and programmable thermostatic controls and infloor and exterior sensors.

  • State of the Art whole house lighting and lighting  controls

  • Thermostatically controlled automatic skylights and windows.

  • Whole house ventilation systems.

  • Passive Ventilation – eliminating the need for a forced air system

Illustration of air flow through the McKinley House:



Selection from David Hertz interview for Surfline.  Full interview can be read on David's Bio.

Location: Venice, CA

Completed: 1996-2003


TV shows & Interviews about McKinley House





  • The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture (McKinley House) Download PDF 
  • Vanity Fair, Oct 2010 Download PDF
  • Dwell Magazine "100 Houses We Love" (Featuring McKinley House), 2010  Download PDF


  • Garden Design, McKinley House 06/08
  • World’s Greenest Homes Discovery Channel (McKinley House)  05/08


  • Off The Grid Homes (McKinley House) Download PDF 
  • Kitchen Trends, vol23 no2, featuring the McKinley House Download PDF 
  • House and Laboratory, featuring the McKinley House
  • Kinhte & DoThi, featuring the McKinley House Download PDF 
  • IdealesHEIM, featuring the McKinley House


  • Sunset - Outdoor Living, September, featuring the McKinley House
  • HGTV Designer’s Portfolio, featuring various projects
  • Variety Weekend, August, featuring McKinley House poolbath
  • Variety Weekend, July, featuring McKinley House
  • ED+C, Excellence in Design Awards finalist, McKinley House
  • Cruising LA Handbook, featuring McKinley House
  • The Independent Magazine, July 29, featuring McKinley House
  • H2O, Vol7, No.2, featuring David Hertz
  • LA Time Home, May, featuring McKinley House
  • BusinessWeekOnline, May, featuring multiple projects
  • Times Journal of Construction + Design, April, featuring Syndecrete®
  • Bathroom TRENDS, Vol 21 no 10, featuring Syndecrete®
  • Dwell, December/January, featuring the McKinley House Download PDF


  • Architectural Coatings, July, featuring the McKinley House Download PDF
  • Better Homes & Gardens, May, featuring Syndecrete®
  • Child Magazine, May, featuring the McKinley House
  • Distinction, May/June, featuring the McKinley House Download PDF
  • Custom Home, April, featuring Syndecrete®
  • LivingETC (England), August, featuring McKinley House Download PDF 
  • Los Angeles Magazine, February, featuring the McKinley House
  • Los Angeles Times –HOME, June 30, featuring McKinley House Download PDF
  • Malibu Times, Sep./Oct., featuring the McKinley House Download PDF 
  • Organic Style, July/August, featuring the McKinley House Download PDF
  • Outside, April, featuring the McKinley House Download PDF
  • Sunset Magazine, July, featuring the McKinley House
  • The Argonaut, featuring the McKinley House


  • The Robb Report, October 2004, featuring McKinley House Download PDF
  • Yogi Times, July-August, featuring the McKinley House addition
  • GA Houses 81, featuring the McKinley House addition Download PDF and Binder Residence Download PDF


  • Vlife (Featuring McKinley House), 2003  Download PDF
  • Dwell, March/April, featuring Syndecrete®
  • Custom Home, April, featuring Syndecrete®
  • Variety, October, “Green Chic” by Janelle Brown, featuring the McKinley House and David Hertz, AIA Architects.
  • GA Houses 74: Project 2003 featuring the McKinley House addition Download PDF
  • Fine Homebuilding, January, “Concrete, Timber and Glass” featuring McKinley House
  • Dwell, June, “House of Seven Patios”
  • GA Houses 67, featuring McKinley House and Hess Tilt-Up Slab House Download PDF


  • Dwell, December, “How Families Live with Cutting Edge Design”, Cover article featuring the McKinley House residence Download PDF

Stills from the film Ride (2014), starring, written and directed by Helen Hunt.