Contemporary Beach House Built for Climate Change |
Contemporary Beach House Built to Withstand the Effects of Climate Change

Contemporary Beach House Built to Withstand the Effects of Climate Change

Not your average beach house

Written by –
Jess Ng
on September 18th 2018
Born and raised in the UK, Jess is NONAGON’s resident historian turned marketer turned writer, drawn to Hong Kong by the lure of dim sum breakfasts and bustling city life. A foodie who loves to cook, food occupies 70% of her brain 90% of the time. When not eating, Jess can typically be found buried in a book or obsessing over making NONAGON’s Instagram #feedgoals.

House Noir


When presented with a dreamy beach house to view, my mind wanders first and foremost to how well the design has captured the accompanying natural view. Rarely do I consider how durable a home is, or how well a home will adapt to future global warming. But with the topical issue of coastal erosion and rising sea levels, maybe it’s high time I should. Ahead, discover how a contemporary beach house in Malibu is built to withstand the effects of climate change. Keep reading to find out more.

Contemporary beach house in Malibu with angled balconies and black aluminum facade |

“The goal of the project is to design for longevity, and to address how, through an adept approach to materiality and form, the house can be sustainable throughout multiple decades.” – LOHA

Contemporary beach house in Malibu with industrial black aluminum exterior |

Not Your Average Beach House

Situated along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, House Noir ain’t your average beach house. Clad in black aluminum siding, the overall aesthetic of this Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) design is more futuristic modern than beachy bohemian.

Contemporary beach house in Malibu is built to withstand the effects of climate change |

This modern beach house sits 20 feet above the shoreline, allowing for the integration of a seawall and deep caisson foundation. In the event of a natural disaster, the site is capable of absorbing the energy of the sea instead of being battered by it.

Nighttime contemporary beach house exterior front facade |

The corrosive sea air, which can deteriorate metals and slowly peel away paint, has been addressed by wrapping the building in non-corrosive aluminum and a generous coat of resilient rustproof paint.

Aerial shot of a contemporary beach house on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu |

“Other than addressing issues of climate and ecology, new parameters for building next to the ocean informed the design approach. LOHA’s design is therefore a byproduct of new code requirements.” – LOHA.

Contemporary Beach House: Scenic rooftop terrace with wood flooring and ocean views |

Views on Views

While durability was key to this project, that doesn’t mean the issue of aesthetics was done away with completely. On the contrary, floor-to-ceiling glass windows harness the prominent ocean views, providing maximal natural light to all interior spaces.

Contemporary beach house in Malibu with ocean views and glass windows |

The trapezoidal shape of the site offers an opportunity for views down the coast from the interior of the house. To make the most of this, LOHA installed angled balconies on the first and second levels. Big sliding doors complete the look, amplifying that all important indoor-outdoor living experience.

Contemporary beach house in Malibu with a minimalist meets mid-century modern aesthetic |

Staircase to Heaven

Inside, a central open floating staircase with perforated metal treads and risers dominates the open plan living spaces. The overall result is a glorious stream of natural light filtering down from the rooftop through the core of the house.

Contemporary Beach House: Minimalist white hallway with glass railing and open floating staircase |
Contemporary Beach House: White minimalist hallway with steel cable mesh railing and floating staircase |

Minimalist white reigns supreme, complemented by a curated collection of mid-century modern furniture pieces for added warmth. I especially love the contrast of these two styles together. It’s at once unexpected yet innately instinctive, each one balancing the other to a tee.

Contemporary beach house in Malibu with modern roof terrace overlooking ocean views |

Indoor Outdoor Living

Indoor outdoor living is without doubt one of the most important aspects of this modern beach house. But what happens when you get a room with no access to the outside?

Bright spacious bedroom in a contemporary beach house with minimalist interior design |

The answer lies in cavernous double height spaces punctuated with impressive street view windows. You’ll notice that the windows sit on a slight angle. This helps to maintain privacy whilst still allowing for good ventilation and a generous helping of light.

Contemporary Beach House: Bright double height bedroom with animal print accent |

The Ultimate Contemporary Beach House?

With no rattan or palm tree accents in sight, House Noir embodies a new contemporary take on the beach house. The home exudes effortless Malibu cool with a hint of understated glamour, all while boasting resilience and durability enough to withstand the wrath of climate change. Aesthetically and practically, LOHA might just have created the ultimate contemporary beach house.

Would you love to live in a contemporary beach house like this?


Want to see more home tours? Head on over to our ‘Home Tours‘ page! Recent favorites include this minimalist heritage home and this industrial modern Barcelona apartment.




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