Venice Beach House

The Venice House was dreamt up as a test site for WHY’s approach to life and design – a three story concrete house which serves both as a private home and a place where our friends and collaborators come to gather, relax, and share ideas.

Key info
Design Architect
Executed by WHY Architecture Workshop Inc.
Venice Beach, CA
  • Completed 2012
  • 4,000 sq. ft.
Design and Executive Architect

Perched on a raised plinth one story above the street, the main level of the house consists of a single living area that opens to a pool along the length of the building. The form of the house is loosely based on the form of a cave shaped by flowing water, and the spaces offer both openness and enclosure; a self-contained domain which is also highly receptive to the surrounding urban environment. The upper floor is a loft space with sleeping quarters, a library, and an architecture studio, and the roof terrace overlooks the sweep of Venice Boulevard towards the sea.


The use of concrete allows for a monumentality tempered by experimentation and whimsy. Concrete reveals the making process through small scars and seams, and this variation of texture is amplified by alcoves, perforations, and ledges which inspire an ongoing curation of objects. The play of light on the walls and ceilings marks the passage of time, and the house gives the impression of a living being in constant conversation with its inhabitants and environment.

The process of designing the house initiated the development of several unique furniture and art pieces by the WHY Objects Workshop. Key objects include the black bookshelf inspired by the monochromatic wall pieces of artist Louise Nevelson, and the adjustable-height steel dining table inspired by architects’ drafting desks. The house itself is both complete in itself, and a draft of what could be – a responsive, hospitable structure attuned to the flux of life.

There are times when you want magic, you want the invisible hand. But you can’t hide anything with concrete.

Kulapat Yantrasast
Lighting Consultant
  • Lux Populi
Related projects