This project is about using extremely succinct moves to radically transform and ennoble an undistinguished old building, making it into a high-performing centerpiece of a precious 180 acre camp landscape in the Malibu hills. This run-down building has served thousands of campers over its 55 year history. It has been closed off from its context, effectively disconnecting itself from the outdoors for over half a century. With a limited budget and the virtual certainty of triggering significant environmental regulations with new construction, it was decided to try to save this underperforming, unremarkable building.
Architects: Lehrer Architects
Location: Malibu, California, USA
General Contractor: Lanet-Shaw Construction
Lighting Designer: John Brubaker Lighting
Structural Engineer: John Labib & Associates
MEP Engineer: Davidovich & Associates
Geotechnical Engineer: Geocon
Owner: Shalom Institute
Photographs: Courtesy of Lehrer Architects
The solution was to leverage an extraordinary site, an oak-filled riparian valley floor–that has always been disconnected from the interior denying significant access, views and natural light—by dramatically and simply opening the building up, both horizontally to the landscape, and vertically to the sky and the tree tops.
The design focused on green acts such as, taking the dark throwaway building, saving it and permitting nature-air, view, space, and light to permeate the interior, therefore creating a campus center.
Other features include:
• Large French doors replacing small windows
• A huge new deck with seating edges to meet grade and accommodate large groups or many small groupings
• New poured-in-place indoor and outdoor grand fireplace and hearth
• Recycled linoleum flooring and wall/ceiling plywood sheathing
• Grand skylight illuminating and articulating many new spaces with light
• New swamp-coolers, together with massive fresh air from new openings – to achieve extremely energy efficient comfort