Concrete is fluid and shapeable. Aesthetically, there are many ways to get different effects. But it's also heavy and expensive,” says Malibu, Calif.–based architect David Lawrence Gray, FAIA. Gray believes strongly enough in its benefits that reinforced concrete is the sole structural material for all of his designs. As in most of his projects, the architect's own Malibu beach home features post-and-beam concrete construction with radiant-heated concrete floors. The material is left exposed and unsealed throughout —even in wet spaces such as this master bath. Gray describes his house as “a concrete skeleton with glass, stone, and glass-block infill.”
The “infill” for the concrete-wrapped master bath consists of marble for an open shower/soaking tub and glass block for the exterior wall. Steel-framed transparent glass above the tub is part of a skylight cruciform that runs the entire length and width of the third floor. A north-facing transom completes the glass litany, offering bathers direct sunlight from dawn to dusk. Gray selected sustainably harvested teak doors as a nod to the waterfront setting and to add warmth. “Wood is beautiful but impractical,” notes Gray. “Concrete is a timeless material that minimizes threats of fire, flood, rot, mold, termites, salt water, and extreme temperatures. And it's green building in its purest sense.”
General Contractor: LCG Construction, Malibu, Calif.
Architect: David Lawrence Gray Architects, AIA, Malibu
Structural engineer: Dimitri Vergun, Santa Monica, Calif.
Resources: cabinets: Siematic; light fixtures: Halo and Lightolier; plumbing fittings and fixtures: Dornbracht and American Standard
See Kitchen: Concrete Impressions for more on upscale uses of concrete./