The Mataja residence posed two particular challenges from the onset: the clients desire for a retreat from an urban lifestyle while simultaneously maintaining a passion for the technological car culture, and the constraints of building in mountainous undeveloped land with no roads, water or power source.
The solution was to wrap the program 270 degrees around an existing granite boulder outcropping using the California courtyard house typology to organize the sequence of spaces. The boulders form and complete the courtyard which make architectural use of this extraordinary natural feature, shielding it and the interior from strong northerly winds and weather as well as camouflaging the house from those hiking in the adjacent National Park. The boulders were mapped, surveyed, and used to distribute programmatic requirements. From every room, the boulders can be viewed and experienced, in effect, inviting the existing rock configuration and its microenvironment into the residence. These gestures settle the house into the landscape.
The owners’ fascination with racing automobiles is expressed through formal gestures evoking motion. Exposed steel moment framing, expansive glass panels and 12 feet long x 8-inch thick concrete cantilevers speak of high technology. In addition, a “butterfly” roof is directed south and angled at 32 degrees to achieve maximum solar collection; it also collects and channels water for site irrigation. Trombe exterior walls of formed concrete and an “air floor” created by honeycombed double concrete slabs provide enough thermal massing to allow for 67% of the interior space to be glazed. Cantilevered concrete and glass curtain walls angle at 8 degrees towards significant sight lines, axes and over Mullholand Canyon.
Status: Completed 1999
Project Type: Residential
Building Type: New
Size: 7,000 sf
Location: Malibu, CA
Principal: Hagy Belzberg
Project Manager: Hagy Belzberg
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