Renowned Southern California architectural photographer Julius Shulman began exploring Malibu in 1929. Nearly 80 years later, he is still bringing back pictures of paradiseexcept 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 shelllike a surf rider's waveenclosing 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.