Ocean views, artfully framed

Times Staff Writer

This LA JOLLA estate, perched atop a bluff above Torrey Pines State Reserve, appears to be practically bobbing on the ocean.

Razor, designed by San Diego-based Wallace Cunningham, is a quiet sanctuary with museum-like architecture and unobstructed views of the Pacific. The modern home was constructed of concrete, steel and structural glass so plen- tiful that it feels as though the house is one with the outdoors.

The goal was to create a piece of art that would still be there hundreds of years from now, not unlike the solid, centuries-old homes of Europe. Dozens of caissons were embedded into the hillside and attached to the house to ensure its permanence at the edge of Southern California’s infamously unstable precipice.

This house is not, however, all about the engineering. It’s about the livable art and the outdoors, visible from every room.


“It was designed to capture the magnificence of the site, to allow the owners to live as part of nature,” Cunningham said. “The house itself is subservient to the sea and the bluffs. When you sit there, they’re perfectly framed in every view.”

About this house: Natural light streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows onto the concrete interior casts shadows that shift throughout the day and seasons. The light play infuses the house with the nature-is-art sensibility for which Cunningham strove. A spacious, covered central courtyard faces the ocean and has radiant heat for year-round entertaining.

Although the home is configured for two bedrooms (two more are in a detached guesthouse), walls could be added to the open floor plan to create up to seven more.

A 3,500-square-foot trilevel detached guesthouse appears, depending on the line of view, to be connected to the main house. The guesthouse has close access to the pool.

“From the lower level of the guesthouse, it feels like you can reach out and touch the valley and the sea,” Cunningham said. “From the top level, you can touch the sky.”

Asking price: $39 million

Size: The property has four bedrooms and six bathrooms in 11,000 square feet. The lot size is about half an acre.

Features: A series of architectural, poured-in-place courtyard walls took four months each to construct. They protect the gathering place from the elements and create a sculpture with curves and shapes that resemble those of marble. The house has a living room; a dining room; adjacent chef’s and family kitchens; a media room; a 4,000-bottle wine cellar that may be used for storage; a computer room; an indoor gym and spa; an infinity pool; a terrace; radiant heat; and a seven-car garage. The property has beach access.

Location: La Jolla

Listing agent: Robert Hurwitz, Hurwitz-James Co., Beverly Hills, (310) 477-8865.


To submit a candidate for Home of the Week, send high-resolution color photos on a CD with caption and credit information and a detailed description of the house to Diane Wedner, Real Estate, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A., CA 90012. Questions may be sent to