The Crescent: Museum Architecture for a Beach House

Heike Söns

One of the most spectacular residences on the California coast, the Crescent is a sculptural structure that rises above a cliff in one of the most coveted areas of the United States.


Located on the shores north of San Diego, California, The Crescent is considered one of the masterpieces of the American architect Wallace Cunningham. Built mostly with steel, concrete and glass, the house was conceived as an ambitious architectural project, which resulted in one of the most spectacular residences on the California coast.

Crescent House

Although it is difficult to compete with the stunning views of the Pacific from the large windows in the master bedroom and common areas of the house, without a doubt, one of the biggest attractions of The Crescent is its infinity pool. A central element in the design, this spectacular pool, is located on the main terrace and can be admired from the moment one enters the house. Flanked by impressive glass walls and decorated with black tiles that highlight the details of the surrounding environment, the pool features the shape of a crescent moon, which was the source of inspiration for the home.

A visit to The Crescent means a stroll along ramps and terraces, a journey that will make you forget the outside world. The design is informed by the phases of the moon and the ocean views that characterize this part of California. And though this property is certainly not as bold as Cunningham’s iconic Razor Residence, it is certainly a faithful representative of the work of the famous architect.

Crescent House

The choice of materials and the layout of the house explore and expand the depth of the spaces, giving a sensation of vastness and vital amplitude fit for a beach property. Another feature outstanding feature is the ease with which Cunningham manages to combine a museum-type architecture with the daily needs of a luxury residence located on one of the most coveted areas of the United States. The architect vividly recalls the genesis of the project and the first time he visited the location. “The land rose from the street towards a ridge looking out into the ocean,” says Cunningham. “We climbed to the roof of the house that was previously there, and the view became everything.”

To take advantage of the bucolic panorama offered by the site, the architect decided to build the house in reverse. This way, the master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room —the vital spaces — were placed on the upper level, while the rest of the bedrooms, gym and garage were accommodated on the lower floors.

Crescent House

The environment itself, coupled with the needs of the owners, helped decide the location and orientation of the residence. The result is a sculptured structure that rises above the cliff and can only be appreciated when the front door opens to reveal one of the most extraordinary homes in the area. With four bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, an office, gym and garage for two cars, this charming property is for sale. Its estimated price exceeds eleven million dollars.

© | 2019