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Inside a Crazy $5.8 Million Venice Beach Mansion Owned by a Writer of ‘The Simpsons’

The avant-garde Venice Beach abode has a distinctive angular silhouette that demands attention.


This architectural marvel in California does anything but blend in. 

The aptly named Tectonic House, which just hit the market for $5.8 million, sports a striking, angular exterior that bucks convention. Designed by Coop Himmelblau, the modernist dwelling was built in 2001 and was the Austrian firm’s first project in the US. Spanning 2,522 square feet, the unorthodox structure inhabits the funky, eccentric spirit of its Venice neighborhood and it was this that attracted the current owner, J. Stewart Burns, a long-time writer and producer for The Simpsons.  

Tectonic House

The owners commissioned a plywood art installation.  Eric Staudenmaier

Burns (no relation to the Mr. Burns of Springfield) originally purchased the property in 2014 for $2.3 million and moved in with his two teenage daughters. After the kids left for college, the empty-nester married Hollywood screenwriter and producer Lillian Yu. The couple invested $500,000 into the home, altering the layout to meet their present-day needs.

“Owning this house is a bit like being a celebrity in very weird, eclectic circles,” Burns told the Wall Street Journal, adding that architecture students often stop by to study it.

Sculptural in its construction, Tectonic House embodies the geometric qualities Coop Himmelblau is known for. It is made up of two separate steel-framed towers that are connected by an upper-level bridge. That’s not even the coolest part. The vertical structure essentially acts as a chimney, drawing air up and out through openings in the roof, eliminating the need for central A/C.

Tectonic House

A bridge connects the two towers.  Eric Staudenmaier

Although irregular in its form, the three-level residence functions as any four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath house would. Made mainly from concrete, glass and steel, Tectonic House is full of beautiful juxtapositions (think: stark metals contrasted against wood ceilings and light-filled interiors). One of the most defining characteristics, though, is the eye-catching art installation commissioned by Shawna Poliquin. The plywood sculpture starts on the floor and climbs up the staircase, following the angles of the home. 

Despite its small size, Tectonic House sure makes a huge visual impact. Sandra Miller of Engel & Völkers Santa Monica holds the listing.

Click here to see all the photos of Tectonic House.

Tectonic House

Eric Staudenmaier

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