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Malibu: A Century of Living by the Sea Hardcover – May 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews Review

Renowned Southern California architectural photographer Julius Shulman began exploring Malibu in 1929. Nearly 80 years later, he is still bringing back pictures of paradise—except that the pristine landscape is now a backdrop for luxury homes. In Malibu: A Century of Living by the Sea, more than 300 lush vintage and new photographs by Shulman and his collaborator Juergen Nogai capture the look and feel of a private Shangri-La. While many of the homes were designed by architects with local and international reputations--including James Moore, Frank Gehry and Richard Meier--the book also conveys the quirky flavor of do-it-yourself designs that hark back to the beach town's beginnings. A brief historical section describes how a Massachusetts millionaire's $10-per-acre land purchase was transformed into the Malibu Film Colony. Beginning in 1924, 30-foot-wide oceanfront lots were rented to Hollywood stars, who built modest weekend hideaways. Once ownership restrictions were lifted, the style parade began. In 1948, Modernist architect Welton Becket designed a flat-roofed beach house for his family with broad expanses of glass facing the ocean and a deep roof overhang to protect against the dazzling sun. Twenty years later, John Lautner worked his magic on a narrow lot by designing a towering curved concrete shell—like a surf rider's wave—enclosing the floor-to-ceiling glass facade of Stevens House. Before land costs became prohibitive, artists and musicians often designed their own homes in eclectic, personal styles that incorporated local crafts, or even an oak tree growing in the living room. Local architects developed inventive ways of handling difficult sites, the constant threat of fire and the requirements of the California Coastal Commission. And the super-rich built their palaces, ranging from a crenellated monstrosity called The Castle Kashan to an 7,000-square-foot modular compound designed by Bart Prince. Invitingly packaged, except for the hard-to-read gray type, Malibu is above all a showcase for Shulman's signature manipulation of sunlight and shadow to reveal architectural form. —-Cathy Curtis

About the Author

Julius Shulman is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential architectural photographers in history. He began his career in 1936 as photographer to Modern master Richard Neutra, before going on to work in a similar capacity with other leading Modernists, including Charles and Ray Eames, Albert Frey, John Lautner, Rudolf Schindler, Pierre Koenig, Craig Ellwood, and Gregory Ain. Shulman's photographs are in many instances more iconic than the actual building they portray. An honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, he is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including a lifetime achievement award from the International Center of Photography and the 2003 Interior Design Hall of Fame Award. David Wallace is the author of the best-selling Lost Hollywood (2000) and Hollywoodland, both of which are anecdote-driven, popular histories of the golden age of the film capital, its built environment, and personalities.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; First edition. edition (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810958856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810958852
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 1.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #485,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Magdalena Kubis on July 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Despite reading the "Nice, but not Nice Enough" comment by one reviewer, I purchased this book and considered it for myself. I'm so glad I did. The reviewer misses the point. It's an architecture-oriented lifestyle book about the history of living in Malibu, not a technical book. Which explains why there are no floorplans. It's about the photos that take you thru each decade and each house, and they are gorgeous. The introductory text/concise house-specific texts are well-written and informative. The featured houses are mostly private, which explains why no addresses are provided. The 2 or 3 houses in the book that are open to the public are well known in this area, easily findable for those who have a yellow pages.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles R. Nauert on May 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I got my copy today... and roared through the pages and images... Beautiful and fascinating images of Malibu's past... Paradise Cove in 1890, the Malibu Ranch, The Adamson House. So many interesting stories and images... and lives! And... some great surf shots too. This is a perfect blend of the many lifestyles here in Malibu... all in one book. Educational and informative and with some good humor too. I know what I'm giving for Christmas presents now!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Malibu has been the place for rich and famous with its oceanfront homes and picturesque views. The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) that cuts through the city sits right next to the ocean but beneath the Santa Monica Mountains giving auto drivers the best view of Pacific Ocean. Ever since the city was founded in 1920s, Rancho Malibu attracted the Hollywood elite who came here for peace and tranquility. This also attracted well known architects and interior decorators to design and decorate the residences that gave a depth to the seaside living. Of course the wealthy residents could afford the cost to build the best houses; thus came the magnificent mansions in Malibu

In this book the author provides a pictorial history of Malibu. There are many pictures of homes of movie stars of 1920s/30s/40s who made Malibu as their home. There is also some discussion of the work of architects in designing these houses. Historically significant houses like the Adamson house is also shown in this book with several views of the ocean, and also the interior of the house. This house still sits at its original spot across from Malibu Colony, a thriving shopping center and the house is open for visitors. The chief architect of Adamson's house was Stiles O Clement.

Some of the historical pictures that interested me are the following: a 1890 picture of Paradise Cove; 1929 picture of the opening of picturesque Pacific Coast Highway (then called Roosevelt Highway); a 1893 picture of Rindge family home; 1939 picture of Malibu Colony with its own private beach; and 1924 picture of actress Louise Fazenda's house.

The highly unconventional Stevens house of Malibu was designed by the architect John Lautner; one of the twentieth century's most extraordinarily gifted and experimental designers.
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Here is a history of Malibu architecture that moves from Tudor style beach bungalows of the silent film era to the modernist style inspired by Le Corbusier and Richard Neutra. It is a picture book and not a technical treatise. This is history of surf-inspired California bungalows and beach-front living that you will find nowhere else. I had no idea that the single-story ranch house was a product of the simple structures constructed on the original Rindge Ranch. The book moves from the beach to the ridges and arroyos or canyons that form the backdrop of the more famous homes of the Colony, Point Dume, and Zuma Beach. Monterrey, Spanish Colonial, Santa Fe/Pueblo, and Mediterranean structures all make their appearance. My favorites are the simple glass, beam, and redwood structures of the 1940s and 50s. Murphy House, 1946, is an early modernist gem set by the sea. Open floor plans providing a portal from the entrance to the wide-open vista of the sea. Floor to ceiling windows with over-hangs to protect from the blazing sun and an overall feeling of airy and open vistas to the sand and water beyond and the sunlit ridges behind the house. A modest structure that blends into the landscape with its low-slung Frank Lloyd Wright hozontility that is all about the view of the sea.
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By HARDIE on September 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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