Tantalus House

The eleven-acre hillside property, with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean required strict regulatory review by the California Coastal Commission, City of Malibu Planning, Building & Safety and Fire Department, the residential Neighborhood Review Board, as well as the Chumash Indian Archeological Inspection Team. In addition to these regulatory hurdles, the physical property was discovered to carry multiple geologic fault lines, the risk of mudslides and periodic wildfires. The resultant “safe zone” for building was found to be a relatively small triangulated footprint along the hillside’s southern slope.

The design for this house emerged from a desire to maximize the coveted views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as a desire to make use of the only flat natural ground on the property. As a result, the house acts as a valve between two landscapes: artificial ground (new pool deck) and natural ground (lawn). The architecture is grounded within a series of concrete retaining walls at the lower floors, which contain private program and secondary courtyards which extend outwards along the hillside. The living spaces are located above the bedroom floors and are arranged parallel to the slope. The programs on this floor (living, dining, kitchen, lounge) are expressed as lightweight, transparent spaces under the metal roof; a spatial condenser between the two flanking landscapes.

Project Team: Aaron Neubert, Mike Jacobs (Principals), Michael Alamo, Jeremy Fletcher, Caroline Hur, Gabriel Leung, Sebastian Salvado