AIRY BEACH HOMES | Montalba Architects

U.S.

Photo credit: Kevin Scott

Montalba Architects, the Santa Monica-based architecture firm behind notable projects including Headspace’s headquarters, The Row Melrose and multiple Equinox locations, recently completed a Southern California single-family residence designed to meld together indoor and outdoor programs by tethered courtyards and gardens. By highlighting elements of the natural landscape and emphasizing decluttered simplicity, the firm demonstrates its unique expertise in integrating a sensibility to the program, materials, and natural light while maintaining a larger vision towards something conceptual in both residential and commercial projects.

VENICE BEACH HOUSE

Year Completed: 2019

Size: Sq. Ft 5,625

Size: Meters 523

Structural Engineer: The Office of Gordon L. Polon

Soils Engineer: Geotech Services

Waterproofing Consultant: Roofing & Waterproofing Forensics, Inc.

Lighting Designer: Oculus Light Studio

Energy Consultant: Newton Energy & Newton Architects

Civil Engineer: Wynn Engineering, Inc.

Landscape Designer: Bent Grass Landscape Design

Contractor: Sarlan Builders, Inc.


The airy Venice Beach home was designed with the intent of blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces to achieve a warm, tranquil home. The design began with its exterior, to ensure the family could enjoy the perks of Southern California’s year-round mild climate. The general sense of warmth throughout the home is driven by the use of natural materials like wood. By contrast, the concrete block walls give the home an almost midcentury sensibility while clearly creating a dialogue with the wood and other earth tones. Woven into the home’s design are three ‘gardens,’ all varying in scale and function. The larger garden creates drama, while two smaller gardens allow for intimacy and moments of pause. A series of parallel datum walls constructed of concrete blocks anchor the gardens and organize the interior spaces around the exterior space.


“With this home, the clients were open to us guiding them toward the larger ideas and given Southern California’s temperate climate it was important to make spaces where they could enjoy the outdoors from anywhere within the home,” said Founding Principal David Montalba. “It’s been particularly rewarding to see the home become part of the family’s framework, and to see them enjoying its modern warmth and landscape.”


The main gathering spaces (living room, family room, kitchen, and pool house) feature sliding glass doors adjacent to cement block walls. When fully opened, interior and exterior spaces are completely contiguous, which supports a tranquil energy and warmth throughout the home. The materiality of the concrete block walls evokes a sense of heaviness and provide a visual, monolithic mass between floors while anchoring the horizontal planes of the home in the landscape. Wood siding wraps the perimeter and sits atop the cement walls, lifting and lightening the massing to create a welcoming balance between earthy and modern.


Montalba Architect’s wellness-based philosophy is apparent in its commercial, residential, hospitality, urban and retail projects. The same near-tangible tranquillity of the Venice Beach home can also be found in other residential projects, completed in 2019.

Oxnard Beach House

Year Completed: 2018

Size: Sq. Ft 3,770

Size: Meters 350

Lighting Designer: Oculus Light Studio

Structural Engineer: The Office of Gordon L. Polon

Mechanical & Plumbing Engineer: Nibecker & Associates

Geotechnical & Soils Engineer: Heathcote Geotechnical

Surveyor: Peak Surveys, Inc.

Contractor: Kirk Hoffman Construction


A prime example sits a bit further up the coast in Oxnard, CA, where the home and beach become one. The Oxnard Beach House combines intimate interior spaces with expansive ocean views and a beachfront setting. The home’s three levels are joined by the main design element of the house: a central stair core, screened by wood panels and flooded with abundant natural light courtesy of the coastline. The southern façade features wall-to-wall sliding glass doors on all three levels to further maximize ocean views, and to blur the sightline between the home and the beach itself.

WEST SIDE PENTHOUSE

Year Completed: 2018

Size: Sq. Ft 1,350

Size: Meters 125

MEP Engineers: Twig Consulting

Expeditor: Conversano Associates Inc.

Lighting Designer: Sean O'Connor Lighting

Contractor: Sage Builders Corp


On the East Coast, Montalba created an artful city sanctuary by modernizing a 1920’s landmarked penthouse in New York’s Upper West Side. The firm maintained the building’s historic vernacular while renovating a wrap-around terrace, incorporating a marble fireplace, eat-in kitchen and dining room, private gym, and two bedrooms with ensuite baths. The addition of clean, modern millwork and fixtures further accentuates the original coffered ceiling, molding and casing details.

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