Ronald Davis -The Artist
Davis Studio and Residence, Malibu, California 1968-72
Frank O. Gehry, Architect

Malibu Studio

Client: Mr. Ronald Davis

Program: Two-bedroom residence and painter's studio, Area: 4,000 square feet, Materials: Wood frame, galvanized corrugated steel, plywood, Project Team: Frank O. Gehry, C. Gregory Walsh, Jr., Stephen Dane

After the artist Ronald Davis asked Gehry to build two separate buildings for his home and studio on three and one-half pastoral acres in Malibu, a dialogue developed between the two men on perspective, geometry, and perceptual illusion, issues increasingly central to the work of each. The collaboration between the painter creating the illusion of three-dimensional space and the architect reducing space to the virtual perspective of the picture plane grew convoluted and eventually was simplified. The building was ultimately conceived simply as a container for movable things, a singular, barnlike structure that would sit on the landscape and confront the terrain in an uncompromising way. Inside, the space would be adaptable to the artist's life and work. In the end, a trapezoidal shell with a strong sculptural relationship to the earth and flexible spatial organizaiton inside incorporated both studio and living quarters.