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33rd Street Residence

Rockefeller Partners Architect

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  • Christopher Kempel, AIA, NCARB

Project Status



4,500 sq. feet


Design Awards

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Project Description

Located off a walk street in Manhattan Beach with ocean views, this 4,500 square foot residence was designed as a modern South Pacific Island retreat. Drawing inspiration from favorite vacation destinations, the client set the tone for their ideal lifestyle, intending to achieve an “architecture pure, clean and healthy,” possessing tropical overtones, natural materials and a hint of luxury. Considerate of the disproportionate 60’ x 30’ length-to-width ratio, the three-level home plan is configured much like a boat, efficiently compact with a distinct fore and aft. In its center is a double-height Zen Garden that sits metaphorically at the helm and the heart of this home. Equally as important to the home’s organization is the stair. Skillfully detailed as floating cantilevered teak planks and accompanied by a mahogany slatted ladder, this sail-like screen soars nearly three stories tall. Inline with the ship-like metaphor, spaces within the home are created in groupings, with public entertainment areas together at the front, and private family areas together towards the rear. All of these gathering spaces are located on the “upper deck” to have uninterrupted views of the ocean. Both front and rear areas have expansive floor-to-ceiling windows and accordion doors which open to generous outdoor decks. A unique metal shed roof is split with clerestory windows that run from front to back, allowing for natural illumination of the upper floor. Located below deck at the mid level, sleeping rooms are carefully planned with hallways used sparingly. The concrete plinth foundation creates a basement that includes a beach room with easy access to the walk street and a three-car garage. We believe this project merits an award for its unique design, refined details and rich finishes as well as its responsiveness to the conditions of the site and to the client’s desires.
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