Venice is a part of L.A. known for its beach and boardwalk overlooking the Pacific. This roughly mile-long strip creates a unique backdrop for houses trying to capture the ocean views. This house by Dean Nota faces west with a sloping glass wall and deep terraces that let the residents enjoy the setting sun — and the show on the boardwalk — while outdoors.
This dusk view of the same Venice Beach house illustrates something unique: The top balcony juts inside into a double-height living space. Beyond the lower balcony we can see a stair for accessing the upper outdoor space; a bridge connects it to the kitchen beyond.
A view from the living space of the Venice Beach house shows the sand and water, the reason for the glass and balconies.
A glance at the back of the Venice Beach house reveals the duality of the design. While the west side is open, the east side is almost completely closed off.
Laguna Beach, a small community south and east of Los Angeles, is marked by a landscape that rises from the ocean to the San Joaquin Hills. This situation guarantees that a lot of people have Pacific views, even when removed from the coastline. The rocky landscape of this house makes this situation clear. At the back of the house ...
...a generous deck and some large expanses of glass orient the L-shaped house towards the Pacific. The left portion of the house is treated like an abstract composition, with various window sizes and orientations across the flat facade.
Stephen Kanner Architects is responsible for a number of houses in Malibu, a beachfront community north and west of L.A. known to those outside California as the setting for Two and a Half Men. Their designs come in various shapes and sizes, but they all orient themselves towards the prized Pacific views. Here we see a long house with a large patio (with rock garden, an interesting touch) and a sizable terrace upstairs.
Farther down the same house is a courtyard carved into the rectangular plan. Behind is expansive glass whose reasoning is best appreciated from inside (next).
The wall that is opened up for the courtyard perfectly frames a gap in the hills between the house and the ocean. This framing elevates the experience of moving from one part of the house to another.
In another Kanner Malibu creation, the horizontal lines of the house point to the west and the ocean. While this side is fairly solid, with some punched openings, the railing and sunshade on the right hint at the others side of the house (next).
This side of the L-shaped house opens itself towards the ocean. This shape also helps enclose the outdoor pool area, which then provides access to the waterfront via some stairs.
A third and last Kanner Malibu house works much differently than the others, in that prized views occur on both sides of the house. The house is lifted above the garage and turned to provide views of the mountains.
At the top of the steps from the garage level, we can see why the house provides expansive glass in that direction. The mountains are a pleasing contrast with the ocean view opposite (next).
Lots of glass opens up the house towards the Pacific, a calm view of blue above green.
This last house is a sculptural number that hints at the ocean views. Note the scalloped section on the right; this is caused by windows peeling away from the facade to capture views of the water.
Looking at the back of the same house, one of the "peels" is evident at the curving corner that then meets up with horizontal wood bands, echoed below as well. These screen part of the house from the sun and give a strong horizontality to this side.