A Sequential Compound on the Cliffs of Malibu
Located on Malibu’s exclusive Encinal Bluffs, the Surf Ranch sits 150 feet above sea level, commanding views from downtown Santa Monica to Catalina Island. The unique lot is 800 feet deep and comparatively narrow. The architecture utilizes this shape with a series of separate buildings in a processional compound that maximizes the linear nature of the site. By doing so, ocean views are framed throughout the entire compound.
In lieu of a long driveway that takes up a large portion of the property, the architects designed a series of buildings that walk the user through to the main entry. Upon entry, one first approaches a 2-car garage attached to a guest house.
Beyond this, a large yard connects an outdoor living area with a narrow pool that runs along the property line. The pathway continues, running adjacent to the pool, and ends at a landing which provides access to the main house. The pool also ends here, capped with a glass wall for visual interest. At this point, one can either enter the main house or continue along a path for private beach access.
Before designing, the architects attended multiple site visits to intently study the sunlight specific to the property. They implemented these findings into the design with brise soleil – a system of louvres in an overhanging structure that filters natural light. This structure strategically blocks direct sunlight in the summer months and allows steeper angled winter sun to heat concrete floors during cooler months.
The interior continues the linear design features from the brise soleil with a cantilevered steel staircase held by vertical tension rods, while light filters through a sprawling window above. A mix of poured concrete and wood make up the majority of the material palette for a refined, minimal look.