The Malibu Beach Residence, in collaboration with Tadao Ando
Imagine a house which is both a nest and a park, a space which is simultaneously private and public. The location of the site on a secluded Venice walk-street – a favorite route for young families and dog-walkers – inspired a design which spoke to the client’s desire for openness and conviviality. The house reflects the client’s appreciation for outdoor entertaining, embracing the Californian indoor-outdoor lifestyle – yet it also allows for moments of seclusion, maintaining the sense of an enclosed treehouse or a nest.
WHY began by asking the question: “How would we design a park to live in?” Sliding glass doors integrate the ground level of the house as part of the surrounding garden, and the private second-story spaces are lifted up like treehouse platforms. The open plan of the ground level is achieved by a minimal steel and concrete framework, while the idiosyncratic scale and proportion of the upper rooms is reminiscent of the small wooden bungalows of Venice – each room is a varied wooden volume with a different skylight configuration. Rather than following a grid, the plan for the spaces is organic and forest-like, and many of the structural elements are fused with the function of the house. Concrete columns support shelves or create benches, steel columns are supplied with coat hooks. Daily activity extends uninterrupted throughout the site, from the public walk-street to the kitchen, creating a natural balance of intimacy and sociability.