How did the architects maximize a beach house’s square footage on a constrained lot configuration while remaining appropriate to its historical beachfront neighborhood?
AB design studio created a distinctive beach front home that was sensitive to its surroundings, while also remaining respectfully low key in both footprint and appearance. In designing this 3,500-square-foot oceanside residence on Miramar Beach in Montecito, CA, the architects maximized its habitable space on a relatively constrained site by eliminating the need for bulky HVAC equipment. Passive cooling strategies were incorporated, such as opposing clerestory windows, solar shading, a ventilation system that draws heat from the lower floors, and a vegetative roof that offsets heat gain. The project is designed to take full advantage of scenic beach views, while also maintaining a sense of privacy for the owners. Large glass façades facing south reveal views to the ocean and Channel Islands beyond, and blur the line between public and private space. During the early process of developing the design, it was established that the home would require a new foundation system that had to be implemented without damaging neighboring properties. The architects’ split-level design allows the narrow lot to divide into three beach-facing elements, breaking down the mass on the ocean-side elevation to better relate to the existing neighborhood, thus making the home respectful of its surroundings.