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April 2, 2012

Way back in our Dec/Jan issue that kicked off 2008, we told the story of the super groovy, surf bum-cum-architectural genius Harry Gesner. The man was a true California original, one who found a bombasitc balance between natural forms and outsized structural expression. A new book, due out next month from Abrams called Houses of the Sundown Sea: The Architectural Vision of Harry Gesner goes further into Gesner's life and work. Here's a preview of the lovely tome authored by Lisa Germany and illustrated with a raft of inspiring photos. 

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Gesner on the beach with his sons, late 1990s. From left: Zen, Jake, Gesner, and stepson Casey Dolan.<br /><br />
Credit: Courtesy of Harry Gesner
Gesner on the beach with his sons, late 1990s. From left: Zen, Jake, Gesner, and stepson Casey Dolan. Credit: Courtesy of Harry Gesner
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Gesner’s house for John Scantlin,1965, highlighting the structure of the single ridge beam, and its lateral rib-like beams, rising up and out toward the view.<br /><br />
Photo by Juergen Nogai
Gesner’s house for John Scantlin,1965, highlighting the structure of the single ridge beam, and its lateral rib-like beams, rising up and out toward the view. Photo by Juergen Nogai
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The living room fireplace recapitulates the Gothic theme of the windows. For the owner of Ravenseye, restoring it according to Gesner’s original plan was a priority.<br /><br />
Photo by Juergen Nogai
The living room fireplace recapitulates the Gothic theme of the windows. For the owner of Ravenseye, restoring it according to Gesner’s original plan was a priority. Photo by Juergen Nogai
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Gesner’s drawing of a never-built ski resort for an area known as Mineral King in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, c. 1965.<br /><br />
Credit: Courtesy of Harry Gesner
Gesner’s drawing of a never-built ski resort for an area known as Mineral King in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, c. 1965. Credit: Courtesy of Harry Gesner
Courtesy of 
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Gesner’s house for John Scantlin,1965, highlighting the structure of the single ridge beam, and its lateral rib-like beams, rising up and out toward the view.<br /><br /> Photo by Juergen Nogai
Gesner’s house for John Scantlin,1965, highlighting the structure of the single ridge beam, and its lateral rib-like beams, rising up and out toward the view. Photo by Juergen Nogai
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White paint now covers the exterior walls of the Cooper Wave house, and the beach has shrunk over the decades since the house was built (1957–59), which has forced the current owners to construct new supports in the form of massive concrete caissons now v
White paint now covers the exterior walls of the Cooper Wave house, and the beach has shrunk over the decades since the house was built (1957–59), which has forced the current owners to construct new supports in the form of massive concrete caissons now visible below the deck. Despite the changes, the original concept of the three dynamic vaults, or “waves,” of the roofline still resonates. Photo by Juergen Nogai
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