California Houses

Creativity in Context


This book is not yet published, but will be available from July 2024.

ISBN: 9780500027127 Category:

Michael Webb


Thirty-six houses completed in the past decade that capture the spirit of California in a distinctive way and respond creatively to context and the environment. Most were shaped by a dialogue between owner and architect, site and budget. Large or small, urban or rural, they demonstrate the extraordinary range of invention emerging from the offices of established and younger architects. This is a celebration of the best talent as well as clients with the courage, imagination and means to commission unique houses that advance the art of architecture. It demonstrates how great design can enrich lives.

An introduction explains how California, one of the most geographically diverse states in the nation, has nurtured innovation for more than a century The houses are grouped in three thematic sections: Engaging Nature, Weaving the Urban Fabric, Viewing Town and Country. Each has a singular personality though most are characterized by a free flow of space, abundant natural light and an openness to nature. There’s a strong emphasis on materiality and frequent references to the local vernacular, alongside daring explorations of complex geometries.

In California a high level of sustainability is mandated by progressive legislation and reinforced by the desire of architects and responsible owners to do the right thing. All of these houses employ passive strategies to reduce their carbon footprint, in addition to thermal insulation, solar and photovoltaic panels. Rainwater is harvested for irrigation. They are constructed to conserve energy, withstand earthquakes and, often, to resist wildfires. Glass sliders blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living.

Additional information

Weight 1982 g
Dimensions 24 x 29.8 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 16 July 2024
Number of pages 304
Format Hardback
Dimensions 24 x 29.8 cm
Weight 1982 g


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Michael Webb Hon. AIA/LA has authored thirty books on architecture and design, including Architects' Houses and Building Community: New Apartment Architecture, while editing and contributing essays to a score of monographs. He is also a regular contributor to leading journals in the United States, Asia and Europe. Growing up in London, he was an editor at The Times and Country Life, before moving to the U.S., where he directed film programs for the American Film Institute through the 1970s and curated a Smithsonian exhibition on the history of the American cinema. He now lives in Los Angeles in the Richard Neutra apartment that was once home to Charles and Ray Eames.