Moss on the Market

West

Cool and convivial: Moss' Lawson-Westen House was designed with warmth and friendship in mind. (Tom Bonner)

Deep-pocketed house-hunters on the prowl for an architectural icon this summer are in luck: The critically acclaimed Lawson-Westen House, designed by Los Angeles architect Eric Owen Moss, is on the market for the first time. The 5,100-square-foot Brentwood home remains the architect’s largest residential project and is an oft-cited example of the spatial subdivisions and geometric shifts that characterize much of LA’s modern architecture.

The concrete and steel structure takes full advantage of its Brentwood site. (Tom Bonner)

Original owner Tracy Westen sought “a house that was itself a work of art,” not a minimalist shelter to showcase—or be overpowered by—the contemporary pieces that he and his wife Linda Lawson collect. The end result, a steel, wood, and concrete building, completed in 1993 after 18 months of design and over two years of construction, is a hybrid of art and architecture, characterized by its geometric aesthetic and unique manipulation of space.

Swerving staircases link the various levels. (Tom Bonner)

Moss attributes the home’s spatial nuances, at least in part, to his clients’ penchant for dinner parties: “Tracy and Linda had a lot to do with what this house came to be. The kitchen is where they entertain, so that space became the focal element of the building.” Indeed, as Westen noted in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, the project began with a focus on conviviality rather than geometry. “Early conversations were all about feeling and aesthetics, and something that was warm and good for friends,” he said.

The house’s defining feature is a three-level conical unit that anchors the first-floor kitchen and is truncated on an upper level to create a deck that overlooks the ocean. The circular kitchen, although not located at the house’s core, provides views of all the surrounding common spaces. A spiral staircase connects the kitchen directly to the master bedroom, located on the cone’s second floor and featuring a private deck and granite fireplace.

Moss, who has experimented with sculpture, incorporated many aesthetic flourishes into his design for the four-bedroom house, including hallways lined by walls of glass and intersecting planes of steel and wood.

The house's upper floor features ocean views. (Kenneth Johansson)

The owners have cited the need to downsize after 17 years in the house, located at 167 S. Westgate Avenue. They’re asking $5.85 million.

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