Thursday, April 26, 2012

Beach House 9: Houses of the Sundown Sea

I. Want. This. Book. 

"The Cooper Wave house under construction, with Gesner at work at the tip of the vault. Before he conceived the house, Gesner spent days surfing the waves in front of the plot and contemplating the design. Finally, he says, 'I paddled out through the break, turned the board to the beach, and sketched the Wave house on the face of the board'  - Wallpaper Magazine

Gesneer started his own practice at 25, and most of his works are known 
to be energy-efficient & quake resistent.  

His architecture is quite bold & maybe for some, wild & out of control.  As for me, although I am generally drawn towards "straight-&-square" architecture,  I can definitely see & understand the beauty and guts of a designer to think up something like this.  

I like that he drew the first sketches of this on a surfboard, in the lineup.  

This kind of architecture is typical of 1950's California modernist architecture.  

Architecture by Harry Gesner 

Architecture by Harry Gesner 

This was one of Gesner's studies for a structure that was never built.  

Decades later, the ocean shoreline has receded and the current owners were forced to put concrete reinforcements to support the Wave House.  The undulating wave roof still stands and is unchanged.   Oh, and did I mention that this was the inspiration of Jorn Utzon when he designed The Sydney Opera House? 

For those who seek it, I leave you with this MUCH inspiration overload for the night:

"Many of Gesner's clients sought him out because he could build on limited budgets and 'unbuildable' sites, and because that impossibility - and the views - shaped what he built. He made houses that hang like a bridge between canyon walls; 'hang 10' over the lip of a cliff; or that could only be reached by funiculars. They are scaled like fish or rigged by Norwegian shipbuilders; he sketched his Wave house in grease pencil from beyond the surf line on a 12-foot balsa board."

At 86,  Gesner is still working and surfing today.  
(shown here with his 3 sons, courtesy of Dwell Magazine)


  1. Love it! thank you CBTS for this inspiring read!

  2. This is my dream house. I really appreciate this. Thanks for sharing. House designs are getting better and better as years goes by.