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  7. Surfhouse / XTEN Architecture

Surfhouse / XTEN Architecture

  • 01:00 - 9 January, 2009
Surfhouse / XTEN Architecture
Surfhouse / XTEN Architecture

Surfhouse / XTEN Architecture Surfhouse / XTEN Architecture Surfhouse / XTEN Architecture Surfhouse / XTEN Architecture +14

  • Architects

  • Location

    Manhattan Beach, CA, United States
  • Architects

    XTEN Architecture
  • Principals

    Monika Haefelfinger & Austin Kelly, AIA
  • Client

    Jennifer & Nick Hall
  • Project Year


From the architect. The Surfhouse appears as an abstract block of ebonized cedar a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean in Hermosa Beach. The site is very small. While typical lots in the area measure 120' x 40', the allowable building area for the Surfhouse measures just 33' x 24'. 

The architects approached the project by subtracting the larger program areas from a solid volumetric form that conformed to the zoning regulations and sought to maximize space, light, and views while also creating a sense of privacy and retreat for the young owners on a busy beachside street.

The domestic program is stacked vertically on the lot. Services and bedrooms are on the lower floors, with larger rooms pushed to the corners for light and views in multiple directions. The top floor and decks are completely open as continuous indoor / outdoor living spaces open to the beach and ocean. 

The facade is made from rough sawn, black stained cedar planks with volumetric openings at primary program spaces and a system of identical 2' x 5' casement windows arrayed across the secondary elevations for specific views and ventilation. The interior is all light and air, with bamboo floors and walls of glass that slide away to bring the beachside environment inside.

Cite: "Surfhouse / XTEN Architecture" 09 Jan 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


AIACaliforniaCouncil · August 07, 2012

2012 AIACC Design merit awards cont&#39d. Congrats to @XTENArch for Surfhouse, #architecture #design

Lancko Doors · November 13, 2011

Surfhouse / XTEN Architecture Modern Homes Modern Doors via @archdaily

Davide Romeo · September 08, 2011

Surfhouse / XTEN Architecture | ArchDaily via @archdaily

eduardo · February 20, 2011

I jerk off to David Adjaye too!

Ichibod · November 21, 2010

While i do love the place, i was never really sure about that bedroom. Can't you see easily into it off the street?

Rip Curl · May 21, 2010

Hi there, I couldn't see any means to email you, and so I really hope that you read this comment. I own a website covering ladies wetsuits, and thought you might like to swap links with me. I have submitted my email address in case you choose to get in touch. Thanks.

Bill Abong · May 21, 2010

Hi there, I could not see a way to contact you, and so I really hope that you see this comment. I have a website about ladies wetsuits, and thought you might like to swap links with me. I have entered my contact address if you would like to get in contact. Thank you.

architecture · July 06, 2009

Very good. I love the shape!

Roland Suits · March 29, 2009 pearl

LargoJax · March 27, 2009

One of my favorite houses on this website! Great, functional design for beach living. I love the use of color inside and out, but wonder how the exterior will hold up in coastal conditions (salt reaction). Don't know what was used for exterior treatment and cladding. Could anybody elaborate...?

pol · February 08, 2009

nice. the modern architecture can only be superior for one thing....purpouse of life....

Preston · January 31, 2009

Interesting. Its extremely clean and rational, but fun and playful at once. Me Rikey!

Geert · January 15, 2009

Haha, very nice! Good things are cleared up now. The house is very well built, which I like a lot. The strobe and the palmtrees are kind of misleading with the comparision to renders. Sorry that my (litlle bit provocative) guess was wrong in the beginning.

Mark · January 15, 2009

Notes from the photographer:

"LOL..... this is too funny.... yes, the house is real. The photos were taken by me with my little old Canon 5D on a very sunny clear day this past summer. Nothing fancy, no rendering, , I just shot RAW files. NO special programs to sandwich exposures...( I wish I knew how to do all that!) I did not photoshop anything, I gave the Raw files to the architect , my good friend. Any enhancements would have been done by him, but to my knowledge , it is just a little "shadow/highlight" and some saturation, nothing too fancy.... the house is just black and white, and the day was quite clear, so the sky was very blue,so it did "pop" more than most houses I shoot.... I did strobe the interiors to capture the balance of inside to outside. I usually try to make it look natural , as I used to be an architectural lighting designer, in this case the architect may have chosen to use an exposure that was more "strobed" than another... not sure....I bracket a lot.... The house also did not have much furniture, so it does lend itself to a "rendering" look... The surfboard is real, it is mine...

This was a very quick simple job ( I did not even have an assistant with me) of a cool little beach house.....I hope this puts minds at ease!!

All the best, Art Gray"

Manuel · January 12, 2009

Nice - the patio looks like a real outdoor extension / room.

Henrik · January 12, 2009

I think Geert is right about the indoor pics though. The house may be built but the pics are from a renderprogram. Look at the picture of the surfboard and wetsuit. Then look at the picture before that. The palmtrees are exactly the same.

Mike · January 12, 2009

Mark, that called HDR photos. Although these photos looks more like natural ones which made in the right daytime with a good camera.


Geert · January 12, 2009

I forgot to mention that I also do like te building! I also believe it's real ;) But I doubted the pictures a little. Sorry about that.

Kim · January 12, 2009

What are you talking about guys, this house is real, it's already built.

I really like it, it's cool and not pretentious, very nice plan, and nice sections. It would be interesting to know the budget. I wonder what can of view one could have on the roof top. I actually though the slope on the ceiling was there because of a pool on the roof top...
Would be nice to have BBQ on that terrasse...

Geert · January 12, 2009

Does this also include the same palmtrees coming up at both sides of the building?

hilldog3000 · January 12, 2009

Awesome pad #1 -

Mark · January 12, 2009

Sorry, name of process is something different, but method is correct.

Mark · January 12, 2009

I think it's called triple cross processing or something like that. The image is made up of two photos taken with a tripod, each at a different exposure. The background and the foreground are then stitched together. This avoids overexposure of the sunny background and underexposure of the shaded foreground. Photographers may be able to explain this better.

Geert · January 11, 2009

Then it's photoshopped and build very neat. The background is not right.

roadkill · January 10, 2009

no doubt the best thing around the block... surf's up

Mike · January 09, 2009

Geert, it's already build =)


Geert · January 09, 2009

Looks nice, but doesn't look that real. I wonder what kind of renderprogram they used.


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