ARCHITECT | DESIGN | BUILD 2012

Architect | Design | Build
BEACH HOUSE DESIGN | DEVELOPMENT

You’ve seen the houses during your morning walk on the Strand or your weekend drive through the Beach Cities. They are the ones you point to and marvel at. The ones that are so beautifully designed and built, they take your breath away. Here, we talk to 12 of South Bay’s most distinguished architects and designers about their remarkable creations.

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Drawing from Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie style influences and 19th-20th century style, David Watson designed and built residential home 32nd Street in Manhattan Beach. “The clients are originally from the Midwest, interested in turn of the century style. The stone-brick, Midwestern feel in the middle of a beach city makes [the home] unique,” he explains. A modern floor plan and living area with windows give the house a spacious feel. “We integrated the prairie style element in a confined beach cities space. The 2nd floor’s long, horizontal style also plays into this,” says Watson. Every detail down to the light fixtures, dining table and chandelier were meticulously constructed to be as inimitable as the structure itself. Dean Nota explains his approach to modern design+build as “creating a sense of spaciousness when you do not have the space.” He did just this to construct the Yu Residence on the Hermosa Beach Strand. Made of wood, stone, and glass for the windows and balconies, the layout is more spacious than a typical Strand home. “The area’s tight space made the project come down to inches,” Nota says. The interior includes a master suite and second master bedroom. Nota’s play on light and materials distinguishes the house from its neighbors. While the beautiful ocean view glistens through the windows, the house is also private enough to live comfortably. “There is a juxtaposition between opening up the house to showcase the dramatic view, but also creating enough privacy for living, ” he says.

D AV I D WA T S O N

WATSON

What is your favorite architectural icon in the world? Dean Nota: Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies aspires within its own spirit to an order achieved through clarity, definition and consistency of application. What architectural figure, living or historical, has made the biggest impact on your career? Dean Nota: I graduated from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, where, after an internship with SCIArc’s founding director, Raymond Kappe, FAIA, I returned as faculty. Working ten years in the Kappe Studio nurtured my love for unique possibilities of residential architecture in the California context that has come to define my work. If you could design your dream home, what style would it be and where would you build it? Dean Nota: The South Bay is part of Metropolitan Los Angeles, one of the world’s foremost contemporary architectural laboratories. So, It would be in a coastal community, in Metro LA, with a view of the ocean, not unlike Hermosa Beach.

NOTA
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D E A N N O TA

D E A N N O TA

ARCHITECT | DESIGN | BUILD 2012

PRITZKAT & JOHNSON
Miles Pritzkat, from Pritzkat & Johnson Architects, believes “renovation and transformation is like a custom made suit.” Pritzkat’s and Keith Johnson’s renovation of the Dauchot Residence in Palos Verdes reflects this philosophy in terms of elements built
P R I T K AT & J O H N S O N

especially for the tenants to support their living style. The project started as a kitchen remodel, but became a complete transformation from mainstream to modern. Once the tenants realized the architects could help sculpt their

What is your favorite architectural icon in the world? Miles Pritkat: I would narrow it down to “my world”, a place with personal relevance that can be experienced with some frequency. The Casino in Avalon on Catalina Island is a fanciful, classical and functional. It celebrates the promise of living in Southern California, something that we can lose sight of. What architectural figure, living or historical, has made the biggest impact on your career? Miles Pritkat: I took a trip to the Grand Canyon three years ago to discover the architect/designer who had influenced me from an early age without my awareness: Mary Colter. When there were few women in the workplace and design world, she shaped the perception of millions of visitors to the American West and Southwest. Her designs celebrate the natural history of the locale in the architecture and interior design. If you could design your dream home, what style would it be and where would you build it? Miles Pritkat: I grew up in Redondo Beach, a block from the Pacific Ocean, so my views have been slanted! Gotta be by the ocean! The specific style… needs to allow the occupants to have an open relationship with this resortlike setting where we live…I am gravitating to styles that find a balance between a relaxed formality that nods to our cultural traditions but that also allow us to live in paradise.

dream home, they opted for a carved out wine cellar, a remodeled pool, and an office. “The project was about understanding the potentials of the house and the clients’ lifestyle,” says Pritzkat. “We created a better flow by determining their needs and creating solutions.”

What is your favorite architectural icon in the world? Keith Johnson: Having grown up in the Midwest, one of my favorite Architectural icons is the Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) in Chicago. What architectural figure, living or historical, has made the biggest impact on your career? Keith Johnson: Mike Brady. Although a fictional character, he had a good family life and a sense of humor. Those things keep you grounded while working in this profession. If you could design your dream home, what style would it be and where would you build it? Keith Johnson: It would have secret passageways behind paintings, ladders behind grandfather clocks to upper level rooms and a roof deck with an ocean view. I haven’t decided which ocean yet.

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ARCHITECT | DESIGN | BUILD 2012

What is your favorite architectural icon in the world? Micheal Lee: I love the Golden Gate Bridge for its muscles, lack of pretense, and absolute beauty. What architectural figure, living or historical, has made the biggest impact on your career? Micheal Lee: Frank Gehry has done more to change the way we think and act about buildings today than anybody else I can think of. If you could design your dream home, what style would it be and where would you build it? Micheal Lee: It would be a Rustic-Modern structure integrated into a coastal hillside in Northern Santa Barbara County. Or, I might prefer to fix up a funky little beach shack on a walk street in North Manhattan.

MICHAEL LEE

LEE
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A man “equally passionate about architecture and interiors,” Michael Lee does a significant amount of planning to provide his clients the perfect blend of both. In particular, the Guglielmo-Gaines Residence on 7th Street in Manhattan Beach underwent a beautiful transformation via Lee’s efforts. Formerly a late 80’s traditional spec house, it now features open spaces built to display the tenants’ art. “We spent a lot of time talking about what [art pieces] were going where,” says Lee. “Unique characteristics such as art placement made it a better project to work on.” Wood furniture compliments a patio with a built in barbeque, and lighter walls to contrast the view are some of the home’s modern elements. “It was really gratifying to see the house working the way we planned with the lighting and the artwork” Lee says. According to Lee, good architecture and great clients “who really pushed” him contributed to the design’s success.

ARCHITECT | DESIGN | BUILD 2012

WINTER
Bryan Winters’ Baba_Haus juxtaposes typical large-scale beach cities projects. His work on this 1952 Redondo Beach bungalow was completed on a tight budget. He was determined to create something unique, however, by expanding the home from 800 square feet to 1200, “The real challenge was that it was small in retrospect,” says Winters. Because of this, he paid extra attention to finite details and was “anal about every little thing.” Honoring the notion that less is more, Winters recalls that that project was “a real experiment in space, coordination, and an understanding of what the client wanted.” To maximize space, Winters used square windows. To save money, he broke his own rules. “We saved [significantly] on the kitchen by going to Ikea, which is something I don’t usually do, and used recycled materials, such as skylights from Craigslist.” In the end, the limited budget allowed for more creativity. The client, a Swiss native, appreciates that the home’s transformation allows her to live a simple but modern lifestyle.

B R YA N W I N T E R S

What is your favorite architectural icon in the world? Bryan Winters: VILLA SAVOYE, in Poissy, France, by Le Corbusier…the villa is a renowned example of a modern architecture international style. What architectural figure, living or historical, has made the biggest impact on your career? Bryan Winters: Working for Thom Mayne, the 2005 Pritzker Prize winner, founder of Morphosis Architects and a founding father of SCI-Arc, provided me the depth and knowledge to become a well-rounded professional. If you could design your dream home, what style would it be and where would you build it? Bryan Winters: The structure would implement five concepts in design philosophy: an inside/outside relationship of material and space; a there-but-not-there emphasis of transparent and translucent materials; a not-at-90-degree parallelism of site to building context; a principle of offsetting materials to create a scope of depth; and a context of
B R YA N W I N T E R S

mass to the overall concept and scope. By implementing these… and keeping true to our philosophy, we can guarantee a provocative design and functional structure.

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ARCHITECT | DESIGN | BUILD 2012

LAZAR

Steve Lazar’s design+build projects stand out in the way they blend in with the earth. Lazar says he “takes an atypical approach that comprehends design and build into the same structure.” The method is apparent in projects such as Hermosa Beach’s Lifeguard Tower, which is refreshingly unusual in appearance but seamless in design and build. Lazar approaches each project with a philosophy: “Function and form have to be perfectly intertwined, like a braid. If form overdoes function then you end up with just a monument that is not useful. If it’s the other way around, you end up with something that is mundane with no spirit.” Lazar uses materials that can withstand time in their environment. “The closer you get to the ocean, materials are absolutely critical to the longevity of the house.” Though a practical craftsman to ensure durability, Lazar’s portfolio is full of distinguished designs. He believes “there is no limit to creativity,” which is reflected via imaginative elements found in his works. When discussing his project titled the O’Grady Residence, Doug Leach thinks about the clients her built it for. “They are familyoriented, down to earth, and wanted a fun, family house with space for living,” Leach explains. Located on The Hill in Manhattan Beach, the residence is a wide, deep lot with downhill proportions and an ocean view at the rear. Leach had 7,500 square feet to work with, and was meticulous. “We spent a lot of time deciding how to level the top floor for the wide angle view. It came down to a matter of 12 inches,” he says. The house has a tropical Hawaiian feel, with a large pool, pool cabana and fireplace. Perhaps the most fun feature is the spiral staircase turned into a slide that leads to the children’s recreation room. Leach designed the living and kitchen area as one big space. He explains that more people are asking for these designs, and that the plan fit into the O’Grady’s family-oriented lifestyle. There is also a covered living deck, covered exterior decks, and a sun deck that wraps around the house. A built in breakfast nook with a wooden table is the ideal weekend dining area.

What is your favorite architectural icon in the world? Steve Lazar: Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes. They look as if they’ve come from the earth instead of being been put upon the earth. What architectural figure, living or historical, has made the biggest impact on your career? Steve Lazar: Frank Lloyd Wright for his use of materials and how he integrates indoor and outdoor spaces to create a home. If you could design your dream home, what style would it be and where would you build it? Steve Lazar: It would be nestled into the side of a mountain or hillside incorporating the earth right into the house. Hopefully it would also have some sort of a natural water feature that I could incorporate into it; really organic.

STEVE LAZAR

DOUG LEACH

LEACH

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LEAN ARCH

EAN ARCH

James Meyer of Lean Arch, Inc., is the principal architect on a team that prides

itself on design+build delivery. His project on 34th Street in Manhattan Beach was a renovation of a multi-story, single-family residence. “We designed it as we were building it,” Meyer explains. “It was a stew of ideas.” One cannot help to marvel at the building, made from both glass and steel. Its vertically oriented connections result in a seamless flow, from room to balcony to staircase. One main focus was the top floor of the three-story house, which was small and served no purpose. Meyer and his team tripled its size, maximizing the space’s usability. “It’s not the kind of project we would normally do, but it was dynamic,” he says.” The tenants were very engaged in the space during the remodel, which is reflective in the property’s personal elements. “The house is fun to be in and reflects the beach lifestyle,” says Meyer. “We were able to mix extreme elements of creativity at a reasonable cost.”

ARCHITECT | DESIGN | BUILD 2012

What is your favorite architectural icon in the world? Louie Tomaro: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie-style work such as Robie House, with its linear kind of lines and handle on geometry What architectural figure, living or historical, has made the biggest impact on your career? Louie Tomaro: Frank Lloyd Wright If you could design your dream home, what style would it be and Louie Tomaro used his clients’ love for traveling, and photographs they took in Bali, as inspiration to create their home on Braeholm Place in Hermosa Beach. “They were inspired by indoor and outdoor shots of lanai-type rooms,” he explains. Tomaro built a wide-open palette of entry space that flows into the outdoors and is ideal for entertaining. Furnished indoor-outdoor spaces, and Fleetwood doors and windows, give the space a resort-like feel. Detailing includes extensive woodwork and exposed roof structures. Perhaps the most stunning aspect of the house is the top-level master suite, deemed The Treehouse. It is made of expansive glass and provides a 280 degree, panoramic ocean view. where would you build it? Louie Tomaro: A building in The South Bay because of its climate and surroundings. There is no place better than home. We are currently working on a more modern style glass project with horizontal floor plans. I’d lean towards something like that with minimalistic touches.

LO U I E TO M A R O

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TOMARO

ARCHITECT | DESIGN | BUILD 2012

What is your favorite architectural icon in the world? Patrick Killen: Eiffel Tower What architectural figure, living or historical, has made the biggest impact on your career? Patrick Killen: Le Corbusier If you could design your dream home, what style would it be and where would you build it? Patrick Killen: Santa Monica Mountains. To be considered architecture and not just a building design, it must be 2012 modern, because all other styles were modern when invented. Once that style is outdated or historic, it is example of modern for that period; later copies of that style cease to be architecture...

P AT R I C K K I L L E N

KILLEN
Patrick Killen used and sun angles, materials materials, rough
PAT R I C K K I L L E N

An eco-conscious and skilled contemporary architect, contemporary

to design Linda Flora – 1239, a Bel Air home. The structure has plenty of open space, including a living area that blends into the kitchen, but does not have an empty feel. Sun angles fill up the vacant spaces, as do rooms mad of wood materials from top to bottom. The natural warming and cooling system includes an 8-foot overhang that allows the sun to naturally heat the home. In an interview about the design+build project, Killen says that he likes to build work that is “timeless, not trendy.” Linda Flora’s design, views of the ocean, mountains and Getty Center and level of sophistication in its build, create a timeless trio that make it an supreme work of art.

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MORRIS

Matthew Morris designed the Kallis residence to be a traditional style house with a contemporary edge. The first project of its kind to be done on a flat walk street in Manhattan Beach, the design brings a modern style influence to the Beach Cities. Although dynamic because it is the first of its kind to be built on a flat walk, the home also stands out because of creative choices. It is truly the ideal Cape Cod or Hampton’s vacation home on the West Coast. To compliment the feel, Morris designed and built a full outdoor kitchen and an outdoor fireplace. He included a media recreation room with an 80-inch television and two smaller TV’s on each side. Artworks with red and green hues cover these smaller TV’s when they are not being used.
(Morris cont. on next page)

What is your favorite architectural icon in the world? Matt Morris: The Empire state building. They built a floor every three to four days. It is an unbelievable feat to do it that fast with that much detail. What architectural figure, living or historical, has made the biggest impact on your career? Matt Morris: There is no one single person. I pull from many different influences. I admire Frank Lloyd Wright’s organization of space; his designs are cutting edge and he took risks. If you could design your dream home, what style would it be and where would you build it? Matt Morris: I like a mixture of eclectic styles. Hamptons meets New York loft with modern and European influences.

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ARCHITECT | DESIGN | BUILD 2012
With a first floor for living that includes a private entry, this place is great for both family time and entertaining. “Since it’s a flat walk, it is all about the kids,” Morris explains, referring to the kid-friendly area. The interior design truly adds the finishing touches to this dream home. Vibrant blue furniture, and an indoor kitchen featuring sky blue tiles, are small details that truly complete the home.

What is your favorite architectural icon in the world? Jon Starr: There is one particular architect my dad was friends with while I was growing up. All of his work was in our little town in Laguna Beach. I modeled what I do after him. What architectural figure, living or historical, has made the biggest impact on your career? Jon Starr: That Laguna Beach architect, and of course lots of other great architects. Also, my clients drive the design. If you could design your dream home, what style would it be and where would you build it? Jon Starr: It changes every week; maybe when I was in school, there was one. I don’t try to imitate, creative people who do creative stuff drive me. When Jon Starr purchased a property on
J O N S TA R R

25th street in Hermosa Beach, he knew that “taking advantage of it would be a challenge.” It was located near valley park on an irregularly shaped hillside. To fully utilize this non-typical space, Starr used non-typical materials to create a play between old and new. Barn wood and Corten steel make up parts of the exterior, ensuring the property will age gracefully. “Corten steel develops a uniform rust but also forms an anti-corrosive barrier. It gives the look of an old, weather barn,” Starr says. He

STARR
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contrasted stucco and mahogany to further contribute to the “old and new” look. Warm lighting and windows that reflect natural light work well with these outside materials. Inside, there is a lot of outdoor living space, including a deck with a bar and an area to dine. “It was a lot of fun to build,” Starr says. Though he did not make the house for anyone in particular, the current homeowner is happy with his purchase. After looking for two years, he set foot in the 25th street property and knew it was the one.

PHOTO BY: TOM SANDERS

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