olson kundig architects' carbon beach house frames malibu's sparkling coast

olson kundig architects' carbon beach house frames malibu's sparkling coast

from seattle to malibu


Seattle-based studio Olson Kundig Architects takes to the breezy coastline of Malibu to design its Carbon Beach House, a sunlit retreat opening broadly out to the Pacific Ocean. Designed for a client seeking a grand and peaceful escape, this private beachfront home takes shape with a thoughtful balance between openness and privacy. Flooded with California sunshine, Olson Kundig Architects’ Carbon Beach House occupies a unique double, lending wide, horizontal windows to frame the south-facing beach and horizon beyond. The architects organize the home around a gardened central courtyard to foster a sense of connection with nature while maintaining a sense of privacy away from neighbors. This design element addresses the key challenge of the site, which calls for privacy despite its proximity to both the beach and a busy road.

olson kundig carbon beachimages © Joe Fletcher



olson kundig frames the shores of carbon beach


From the beach, the Carbon Beach House evokes a sense of confident presence, which the architects design to reflect the owner’s desire for a bold architectural statement. A bespoke system of kinetic louvers adorns the exterior, offering a touch of artistic flair while effectively optimizing natural light and managing solar heat gain. The home’s exterior materiality, chosen for its resilience against the strong coastal winds, conveys a sense of strength and durability. Stepping inside, however, a contrasting sense of calm and airiness prevails, with the material palette reflecting the serenity of the beachfront location. Through its thoughtful design and strategic use of space, the Carbon Beach House by Olson Kundig takes advantage of its unique location, offering its occupants a haven that embraces the grand California coastline and the intimacy of a private garden.

olson kundig carbon beach
Olson Kundig’s Carbon Beach House arrives along the shore of Malibu olson kundig carbon beach
while open toward the ocean, the home is closed off from the busy road olson kundig carbon beach
designed as both a grand and peaceful escape, the home balances openness with privacy olson kundig architects' carbon beach house frames malibu's sparkling coast
the double lot home basks in sunshine and offers wide beach views


a central courtyard provides a secluded sanctuary infused with nature

olson kundig architects' carbon beach house frames malibu's sparkling coastthe team fronts the home with bespoke, operable louvers to shade interiors


the exterior is clad with durable materials to resist strong coastal winds



project info: 


project title: Carbon Beach House

architecture: Olson Kundig Architects | @olsonkundig

location: Malibu, California

completion: 2023

photography: © Joe Fletcher | @joefletcherphoto


project team:
design principal: Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA,
project manager: Justin Helmbrecht
project manager (schematic design): Edward Lalonde
project architects: Eric Druse, Gavin Argo
project architect (schematic design): Gus Lynch
interior, landscape design: Soul Escapes

key consultants:
owner’s rep: Plus Development Group
general contractor: Hill Construction Company
landscape architect: Clark and White Landscape
civil engineer: CM Peck, Inc.
structural engineer: Labib Funk & Associates
mechanical, electrical engineer: AMA Consulting Engineers
lighting design: KGM Lighting
wave uprush: Pacific Engineering Group
wastewater: MKN and Associates
Glulam Timbers: Spearhead

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