Concrete is as old as the Egyptian architecture. But the sturdy material has changed with the evolution of engineering and architecture becoming one of the most studied and tested building material. Concrete has adopted a decorative characteristic with the emergence of modernism. Concrete structures provide a sense of lightness and cleanliness, and give the modern minimalist exteriors plain origami-like folds which create different shadow hues, and thus accentuate the architectural form. Several architects’ names were synonymous with concrete architecture, like Tadao Ando for instance.
The complication of concrete architecture lies in the interiors, especially when left naked. The grey planes might seem cold and sterile if the interior was not playful and vibrant. On the other hand, a grey background allows you to install various art pieces and play with furniture as favored, and do not forget, you can always paint concrete walls!
In this article, we show you Steve Martin’s California modern concrete hill house that was inspired from the freeway system. This celebrity’s residence shows the best and the worst of concrete architecture.
In the photos posted below, we will point out the design successes and failures of Steve Martin’s concrete house.
Aerial View of the House
The house is built into the hill as an attempt to avoid landscape cutoff. The lower level overlooks scenic ocean views.
Frontal Bird’s Eye View
A bird’s eye view of the hill top residence showing the landscape circulation from the lowest pool level to the highest roof watch tower level.
Dramatic Glass Walls
The wide dramatic glass walls frame the outstanding coastal landscape, and connect the neutral interior to the vibrant exterior. The modern multi-colored furniture add life to the presumably dead concrete structure. The huge painting and console break the walls monotony.
Naked Concrete Interior Walls
The exposed half walls of different heights and the cylindrical pillar and chimney add an interesting playfulness to the living area. The beautiful vintage art pieces are given justice by the grey background.
This cozy living area receives sufficient natural light due to the clever short walls that allow more air, light and vision.
The Dining Room
The dining room occupies one of the extruding volumes and, consequently, connects the space to the outdoor landscape. The massive paintings provide just enough embellishment.
The house’s kitchen is a combination of industrial stainless steel restaurant stove and country warm wood countertops and white cabinets. The kitchen contrasts with the minimalist house, but has a family-friendly taste of its own.
The Master Bedroom
The blue pastel fabric of the master bedroom visually brings the turquoise ocean water to the inside through the multi-paned glass together with the fixed glass wall.
Steve Martins House Balcony
The master bedroom’s terrace is extremely private and has a relaxing mood being in the middle of greenery.
Another bedroom with mustard-yellow accent pieces. The stainless steel cylindrical columns and the white ceiling drop beams minimize the uniformity of the concrete room.
A Smaller, Yet Equally Designed Bedroom
This smaller bedroom features two paintings that sum up the color palette of the room and the outdoor greenery.
The Lifeless Guest House
This minimalist guest house, although structurally appealing, has a cold unwelcoming ambiance. Perhaps some floral plants might give the space an inviting lively appeal.
The Three Concrete Cylinders
The three cylindrical structures add to the minimalist industrial look. The main structure is a watchtower, while the other two are chimneys. The scenic view is best portrayed from this viewpoint. A closer view of the structure shows the different degradation and hues of grey.
The Three Wings
The three outward-extruded volumes open out onto various landscapes and views. The main living space is connected to a stepped patio that leads to a pool that reminds us of the California ocean.
The sculptural watchtower can also be used as a gazebo. There is no serener spot in the house than this breathtaking structure.
The pool from this perspectives connects the hill top to the horizon.
One important element in architecture in general and in concrete architecture in particular is light. Tadao Ando nailed concrete architecture by allowing sunlight to the interior in as many ways as possible: skylights, wall openings and windows, which is a feature we spot in Roland E. Coate Jr.’s concrete hill house in common spaces, but not in hallways, staircases and private rooms.