Iconic Wave House in Malibu Listed for Sale at $48.5 Million

Malibu Listed for Sale at $48.5 Million

Located in the picturesque coastal city of Malibu, California, an extraordinary architectural marvel is now available for sale at a staggering price of $49.5 million. Dubbed the Wave House, this magnificent six-bedroom residence is a testament to the beauty of the ocean, designed in the 1950s by the visionary architect Harry Gesner, drawing inspiration from the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Iconic Wave House in Malibu

Legend has it that Gesner spent several days immersing himself in the natural surroundings of the property, camping out, and observing the ebb and flow of the waves. It was during this time that he conceived the idea for the remarkable 6,200 square-foot home, nestled on less than an acre of oceanfront land. As the waves crashed before him, Gesner, reportedly surfing one of those waves, sketched the blueprints for the Wave House using a grease pencil directly on his surfboard. Imagining the house seamlessly merging with the ocean at high tide, its projecting rooflines mimicking breaking waves, he gave birth to a truly unique architectural masterpiece.

The Malibu Wave House, initially designed for Gesner’s friends and fellow surfers Gerry and Glenn Coope, defied the norms of 1950s architecture with its curving walls, beams, and cantilevered roofs. However, its bold design quickly garnered attention and contributed to Gesner’s rise to prominence within the mid-century California Modern movement.
Gesner’s international acclaim was further amplified when the Wave House caught the eye of Jørn Utzon, the Danish architect behind the renowned Sydney Opera House. Zen Gesner, Harry Gesner’s son and one of the listing agents, shared that Utzon personally reached out to Gesner, praising the brilliance of the home and acknowledging its influence on the iconic Australian landmark.
“My dad was completely blown away that this architect went out of his way to contact him and express admiration for his design,” said Zen Gesner. “Most architects are egomaniacs and don’t tend to acknowledge others’ work.”

In the 1970s, the Wave House found a new owner in the form of musician Rod Stewart. According to Zen Gesner, who grew up next door in the Sandcastle House, another creation by his father, Stewart was a delightful neighbor, often seen dancing on the rail-free decks of the property. Stewart made several enhancements to the Wave House, including the addition of railings and substantial concrete piers for additional support.

The previous owner of the Malibu Wave House was Mo Ostin, a notable music industry executive who was renowned for his stewardship of Warner Brothers Records. Ostin was also a distinguished art collector, with his esteemed blue-chip collection recently fetching an impressive $123.7 million at a Sotheby’s evening auction in New York, with all but one item sold.
It remains unknown whether any of the 15 lots from Ostin’s auction adorned the walls of the Wave House. The listing for the property comes less than a month after the neighboring Sandcastle House hit the market for $27.5 million. Zen Gesner expresses the hope that a single buyer will acquire both properties, preserving the twin cornerstones of Malibu’s architectural heritage.