The McKinley residence was the ideal backdrop for WWD’s first “green” fashion shoot. Designed by the award-winning architect David A. Hertz and his design firm, Syndesis Inc., the contemporary organic house, located on McKinley Street in Venice Beach, Calif., uses solar and photo-voltaic panels to create energy, radiant heating tubes for warmth, natural ventilation for cooling and collected storm water for irrigation.

The 4,400-square-foot home, where Hertz, his wife and their three children now live, is the epitome of green. Depending on the season, it can produce more energy than it consumes, giving a surplus back to Santa Monica’s power grid.

The house is constructed from sustainable materials including Syndecrete, a lightweight concrete surfacing material developed by Syndesis using recycled materials and factory by-products.

“I grew up in contact with nature,” says Hertz, who started his company in 1983. “I went to school in the Seventies during the energy crisis, and was aware of the U.S. dependence on foreign oil. From then on, I believed that architecture could help to counteract the environmental crisis.”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tim Allen, John Lithgow and Blythe Danner have all commissioned sustainable homes from Syndesis. Commercial clients include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Virgin Records and Smith & Hawken. Hertz’s current projects include a residence for a Belgian countess in Costa Rica; Legoland California’s surf park with man-made wave pools, and dorms, commons and faculty buildings for The Thacher School, a boarding high school in Ojai, Calif.

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