Rebuilding in homage to the views - Rather than making a bold architectural statement, Kanner architects designed "Malibu 4" to maximise the plots westerly views via a warm and embracing home. A modernistic remodel that befits its surrounds, whilst still impressing.
Malibu 4 is a comprehensive remodel of a home built in the mid-1990’s after a fire destroyed the site’s original structure. The minimal yet warm aesthetic is inspired by Luis Barragan, the Mexican master of space and light, known for sculptural courtyard designs. Other sources of inspiration are Greek island architecture and the simple, cubist work of Irving Gill, who specialised in internal courtyards.
The one-storey courtyard house was designed to take full advantage of its secluded location on a crest in the Malibu hills, and the breathtaking views that site provides. The white plaster exterior is enhanced by its contrast with the blue sky and nearby ocean, mimicking its Greek island inspirations. Entering the house through the rear courtyard, the white is contrasted further by warm interior features of mahogany floors, doors and cabinets. Once through into the living area, the true merits of the site are seen as the views flow in through open floor to ceiling glazing. In contrast to these open westerly walls, the house has minimal glazing in the other three directions, perhaps aiding in regulating the house's temperature.
The design was peeled back to simple building block and materials, to limit the visual clutter and its impact on the surroundings. Yet the cubic design of house is not only stylistic. Thinking of future fires, the eaves were removed and landscaping set back from the property, allowing the lawn to form a natural fire-break. The pool I guess would have other uses too, in times of crisis.
Steven Kanner has also mentioned in other articles a point that may create envy for fellow architects.
The exterior is formed from Greek island inspirations. But the client was also interested in Japanese design, so Steven hopped on a plane and travelled to Tokyo to research projects there. This prior research allowed reinforcing to be build into the walls during construction to support the minimal cantilevered Mahogany shelving. Other Japanese features include: the dark stains; the horizontal black tiling in the bathroom; and a neat little tap designed for washing the feet, a great feature in a bathroom right beside the pool.
The home establishes an interesting hierarchy of space through varying ceiling heights. Reflecting their use/time spent in them, the living room, dining room and master bedroom are all a high 14ft or 4m+.
Slotted in between these rooms and of lower height are less used: office, bathrooms and two more bedrooms.
Curiously, their layout forms a undulating wave, a pixelated version of the Pacific ocean beyond. One of my favourite features is the black tiled master bathroom, with sliding glass doors, that allow you to bath almost outside, beside the pool.
The 3,2000-sf building is anchored by a serene interior court that serves as the easterly entry to the house. Calm, compared to the exhilarating views to the west.
A stunning place to take in wonderful views. A true home.
Architect: Kanner Architects
Materials: Plastered concrete with Mahogany
Photos: John Edward Linden