Located on the Malibu coast, the Hunt House was designed by Craig Ellwood and Jerrold Lomax for Victor and Elizabeth Hunt and completed in 1957. Its green garage doors face a busy street, but as the house steps down to the beach, its simple, well-organized structure is all about maximizing the pleasure of indoor-outdoor living and the enjoyment of stunning ocean views.
Born Johnnie Burke, Ellwood started a construction company with his brother in 1946. Its small office was located next to the Lords and Elwood liquor store, which inspired them to call their firm Craig Ellwood. Burke later legally changed his name to that of the business.
One of Ellwood’s first experiences with modern architecture was working as a cost estimator for Charles and Ray Eames, who built their Pacific Palisades home, also known as Case Study House No. 8, in 1949. Through that project, he met John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture and founder of the magazine’s Case Study program for experimental houses (1945–66).
Ellwood wasn’t trained as an architect, but he knew what clients wanted. He founded his design firm in 1951 and soon had a reputation for delivering California modern homes at affordable prices. To realize his vision, Ellwood partnered with architects Robert Theron, Pete Peters, Jerry Lomax and others. Their simple, elegant homes were featured in Arts & Architecture more than 50 times, and in 1954, Harper’s Bazaar named Ellwood one of “four most promising young architects,” along with John Johansen, Mark Mills and Paul Rudolph.
In addition to the Hunt House, Ellwood’s remaining works include the Salzman House – one of three Case Study Houses by his firm – and the Bridge Building, designed with James Tyler and Stephen Woolley for Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design.
“The purpose of architecture is to enrich the joy and drama of living.”
– CRAIG ELLWOOD