Surf Ranch was conceived to work as a weekend getaway, a family compound, and as a setting for elegant entertaining. Located on Malibu’s exclusive Encinal Bluffs, Surf Ranch sits 150’ above sea level and commands views from downtown Santa Monica to Catalina Island. The building pad slopes gently from the Roadway to the edge of the bluff allowing for unbelievable views from many of the structures on site.
The architecture responds to this unique site by framing views in a series of movements that are experienced in a carefully choreographed sequence. From the moment that one drives onto the property a glimpse of blue-water view is revealed and framed by the roof of the Guesthouse. One then progresses through the entry gate past the guesthouse down a gently sloping set of steps where a reflecting pool / lap pool and elevated lawn area are juxtaposed with Pacific Ocean’s horizon beyond. The sequence then continues by minimizing the view as one walks down a ramp that runs the length of the pool only to expand the view again as one enters the out-door entertainment area at the base of the ramp. The main house entry leads into a loft-like space with living, dining, and family room areas which open onto each other and tall sliding doors which allow for the house to open completely to the outside.
The Master Suite and the bedroom areas afford privacy from the open areas of the house while still allowing for blue-water views. The Guest house is designed as an open loft with a private bedroom and a large terrace that can be opened onto from both the living areas and the bedroom. The Guest House is elevated above the main house because of its location on the property and has a panoramic view of the ocean’s horizon with the main house below in the foreground.
Surf Ranch was designed to take advantage of its solar orientation and maximize energy efficiency while still maintaining large expanses of glass façade. This is achieved through the use of massive overhanging roofs that strategically block direct sunlight in the summer months while allowing the steeper angled winter sun to heat concrete floors during cooler times of the year. Radiant heat is utilized throughout the house and even built into a concrete bench outside next to a fire element for extended enjoyment of the outdoor living area. Photovoltaic solar panels are planned for the roof of the garage and solar water-heating elements will tie into the hot-water system for the house reducing energy cost for the homeowner.
Surf Ranch is a forward thinking modern estate that typifies a stylish, but informal lifestyle which Malibu is known for.