Luxury Outdoor Pavilions Turn Backyard Entertaining Inside Out

California affords its citizens certain benefits—endless entertainment, gorgeous swimming pools, the Pacific Ocean, and near perfect weather. Now we can add another amenity that’s trending on ultra-luxe California estates—outdoor pavilions.

Rios Clementi Hale Studios crafted the minimalist Air Frame Pavilion with white furnishings, white frame and a light stone floor for a gallery ambiance.

Rios Clementi Hale Studios crafted the minimalist Air Frame Pavilion with white furnishings, white frame and a light stone floor for a gallery ambiance.

Backyard pavilions are popping up like spring grass, no matter the season. These luxury enclosures offer outdoorsy homeowners endless opportunities to entertain and relax—rain or shine, steamy or chilly.

Leading this trend is Rios Clementi Hale Studios, architects behind the residences of entertainment bigwigs Clive Davis, David Geffen, Brian Grazer and writer/producer Darren Star. The firm’s partners—Mark Rios, Julie Smith-Clementi, Frank Clementi, Bob Hale, and Mark Motonaga—are a dream team of collaborators whose interdisciplinary expertise is turning backyards into entertainment sanctuaries.

Rio Clementi Hale Studios' all-weather pavilions are fabricated like high-performance cars—engineered with glossy steel skin, sun roofs, and components concealed by immaculate detailing.

Rios Clementi Hale Studios' all-weather pavilions are fabricated like high-performance cars—often engineered with glossy steel skin, sun roofs, and components concealed by immaculate detailing.

These aren’t your uncle’s pop-up tents that tip over in a wind gust at birthday parties. These pavilions are conceived and fabricated like high-performance exotic supercars—often sheathed in glossy steel skin, engineered for supreme comfort, and packed with high-tech amenities and components concealed by immaculate detailing.

These rooms utilize high-grade materials such as structural steel frames, motorized pocketing glass walls and windscreens, fiber optic lighting, audio/visual components, infrared heaters, sapphire glass guardrails, rooftop lawns, polished high-gloss ceiling plaster, and automotive paint over Bond-o-filler over 3/4”-thick plate steel—whatever that is (but it sounds super high-tech and secure).

The Air Frame Pavilion

The Air Frame pavilion blends into the matching three-story, 18,000-square-foot home (even connecting via a roof deck on the second level).

The Air Frame Pavilion seamlessly blends with the client's three-story, 18,000-square-foot home (even connecting via a roof sun deck on the second level).

The sleek design of these pavilions belies the internal complexity of their building systems. For year-round comfort, the pavilion can adapt to changing weather—raising or lowering shades, maneuvering glass walls, activating heating and sound systems—via touch-screen control.

This Air Frame pavilion includes an open-air design, embedded TV and relaxing vibe for entertaining—and a spectacular view.

This Air Frame Pavilion includes an open-air design, embedded TV and relaxing vibe for entertaining—and a spectacular view.

The architects’ challenge: create a “back garden room” structure without obstructing the scenic views from the main house, pool terrace or any other vista on the property. The clients wanted a comfortable outdoor room that complemented the main residence as well as steel sculptures on the grounds. The architects’ positioned the sculptural pavilion concept as a fine art commission—an extension of the clients’ art collection.

Rios Clementi Hale Studios crafted the Air Frame Pavilion—a white minimalist, 650-square-foot room with retractable glass walls that occupies a manicured backyard area, near the pool terrace and the three-story, 18,000-square-foot residence, which was designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects in 2000.

The 650-square-foot covered Air Frame Pavilion with "fire table" console.

The 650-square-foot Air Frame Pavilion with "fire table" console.

The pavilion features bright-white furnishings atop light-stone flooring (creating a gallery ambiance), breezy openness (called “void”) via low-e glass window walls, a cozy central fireplace (a console “fire table”), an imbedded flat-screen TV, an A/V system hidden within an elegant white-metal frame, and a glass-walled roof deck offering panoramic vistas of the Los Angeles basin and Pacific Ocean. This synthetic-turfed roof sun deck connects to a second floor bedroom of the main house via a thin steel-plate bridge (which doubles as a covered pavilion walkway from the first-floor breakfast room).

The pavilion boasts retractable glass walls with a synthetic turf rooftop deck with Los Angeles skyline panoramas.

The pavilion boasts retractable glass walls with a synthetic turf rooftop deck with Los Angeles skyline panoramas.

The pavilion location provides 180-degree views at the top of a slope and seamlessly integrates with main residence living spaces (from existing corridor views to exterior circulation paths to material appearance). “The steel-framed, steel-skinned pavilion maintains the vista, complements the main house, and is sculptural in form and expression,” according to the firm. “Its roof is a viewing deck, creating an additional vantage point.” As a kicker, the architect also designed the custom "fire table" console and furniture selections for the pavilion.

The sophisticated simplicity of the sculptural design is enhanced by its taut steel skin, planar walls, cantilevered roof and climatic responsiveness. The homeowners spend most of their time in the pavilion, dining, entertaining, watching TV or just relaxing.

Cayton Residence

The architects also designed this dark wood pavilion in Bel Air, codenamed "Cayton Residence."

The architects also designed this dark wood pavilion in Bel Air, codenamed "Cayton Residence."

Rios Clementi Hale Studios pavilions are sculpted for surrounding their environment.

Rios Clementi Hale Studios pavilions are sculpted for surrounding their environment.

Another recent Rios Clementi Hale Studios design was codenamed “Cayton Residence” which enriched the home of an unnamed Bel Air, California client with two pavilions—the Padel Pavilion adjacent to a padel (or "paddle") court and another by the pool.

As these outdoor pavilions grow in popularity (like the manicured grass they rest on), the backyard party never ends.

This article was originally written by Keith Flamer and appeared here.

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