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California Houses

Creativity in Context

Michael Webb


California has always attracted adventurous spirits; the latest expression of that daring is contained in the 36 unique houses featured in this book, all created by talented architects to enrich the land and enhance the lives of their owners

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California Houses brings together thirty-six houses completed over the past ten years that capture the spirit of California in distinctive ways and respond creatively to context and the environment. They engage forests and deserts, the ocean and city streets. Large or small, they demonstrate the extraordinary range of invention emerging from the offices of established and younger architects. This is a celebration of the best talent as well as clients with the imagination and means to commission houses that are one-of-a-kind and advance the art of architecture.

California is a hotbed of sustainable construction, as mandated by state legislation, and all of these houses employ active and passive strategies to reduce their carbon footprint. There’s a strong emphasis on natural light and ventilation, thermal insulation and solar panels. Rainwater is harvested for irrigation. These are homes constructed to conserve energy, withstand earthquakes and, often, to resist wildfires, but without losing their aesthetic appeal.

The selection ranges from a landscaped concrete dome to an inflatable shelter that can be assembled and relocated as easily as a tent. An expansive ocean-front retreat contrasts with a bungalow that has been transformed on a shoestring budget and a weekend cabin in a desert wilderness. One house cascades down a wooded hillside, another spans a creek, and several more are tucked into confined city lots.


'It does every architect – and architecture lover – good to see a fine selection of high-quality recent houses, and this compilation by the accomplished Michael Webb does the job magnificently'
The World of Interiors

Product Information

Book Details

Format: PLC (no jacket)

Size: 29.0 x 23.0 cm

Extent: 304 pp

Illustrations: 345

Publication date: 16 May 2024

ISBN: 9780500027127

About the Author

Michael Webb Hon. AIA/LA has authored thirty books on architecture and design, including Architects' Houses and Building Community: New Apartment Architecture, while editing and contributing essays to a score of monographs. He is also a regular contributor to leading journals in the United States, Asia and Europe. Growing up in London, he was an editor at The Times and Country Life, before moving to the U.S., where he directed film programs for the American Film Institute through the 1970s and curated a Smithsonian exhibition on the history of the American cinema. He now lives in Los Angeles in the Richard Neutra apartment that was once home to Charles and Ray Eames.