The Annenberg Community Beach House is located at 415 Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, California. It is open from 8:00am to 8:00pm daily and is a public beach house owned by the Annenberg Foundation. The Beach House offers a variety of activities, from swimming and beach volleyball to yoga and art classes. There are also a cafe and a snack bar, as well as a playground for children. The Beach House also hosts various events throughout the year, such as movie nights, concerts, and festivals.

Annenberg Community Beach House

Annenberg Community Beach House

The Annenberg Community Beach House at the Santa Monica State Beach It is a public beach facility, open to all. The Beach House sits on the site of a now demolished 110-bedroom mansion that was built to marion davies in William Randolph Hearst. The original swimming pool of the mansion was rehabilitated by the Annenberg Foundation and opened to the public for an admission fee in 2009. The pool is tiled and has a marble deck. One of the mansion’s original guesthouses also exists and is used for events.


Marion Davies’ beach house in the 1930s
Marion Davies postcard in front of the Beach House
Beach House Postcard
The Gold Room, the most elaborate room in the house, used for very formal social occasions (1934)

It was almost as big as the White House. Bigger, maybe. Just as you build with small blocks, he added non-stop. But small blocks would not have cost the money.

Built in 1929, Ocean House – later simply called the Beach House – was a hot spot on Santa Monica’s Gold Coast in the 1930s and 1940s, as William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies entertained. hollywood‘s elite at Davies’ 5 acres (20,000 mtwo) State. Actress Colleen Moore he is reported to have called Ocean House “the greatest house on the beach – the beach between San Diego and Vancouver”.

Built from designs by Julia Morganthe complex consisted of five richly furnished rooms Georgian Revival buildings, including a three-story, 110-room mansion where Hearst and Davies lived. The four guest houses were used by the Davies family, guests and 32 servants. There were tennis courts, gardens and a 33-metre heated saltwater pool clad in Italian marble, crossed in the center by a Venetian marble bridge. The final cost of the Ocean House was $7 million – $3 million for construction and $4 million for furnishings.

In 1949, the main building opened as a luxury hotel. The third-floor gable at the center of the mansion had been the terrace and sitting room of Marion Davies’s private suite. When the Venetian marble bridge spanning the center of the pool was removed, Davies said “the pool was ten feet deep in the middle and I think it was absolutely wrong to remove it”.

In 1947, Davies sold the property for $600,000 to hotelier Joseph Drown, who operated it as a luxury hotel and beach club for limited members. On opposition from neighbors Darryl F. Zanuck and Harold Lloydthe mansion was demolished in 1956. The property was sold to the state of california in 1960 and developed into a parking lot.

The Areia & Mar Club continued to the City of Santa Monica took over operation of the site in 1989. It functioned as a public space open to the location and filming of events until the Northridge earthquake in 1994 severely damaged all structures on the site. In the aftermath of the earthquake, the City of Santa Monica conducted an extensive community process to rethink the location’s role as an important community gathering space. The resulting reuse plan called for a facility with a ‘light touch’ to its surroundings and one that would encourage a diverse group of users. The project stalled while the city government sought funding.

In 2005, the Annenberg Foundationon the recommendation of Wallis Annenberg, made a generous financial commitment to realize the city’s vision and preserve the site for public use. The Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica State Beach opened to the public on April 25, 2009, representing a unique partnership between the Annenberg Foundation, California State Parks and the city of Santa Monica. Total construction costs were approximately $30 million. Local residents managed to force the city to significantly limit its opening hours.


Annenberg Community Beach House (2016)
Entrance to North House, a 7,000-square-foot guest house that remains from the original property

Developed as a design-build partnership between Frederick Fisher and Partners Architects and Charles Pankow Builders, the Annenberg Community Beach House was conceived as a series of indoor/outdoor recreational and event spaces, both formal and informal, intertwined within the site. The main organizing device is a concrete wall that serves as a backbone for the disparate design elements and as a sound absorber for the adjacent roadway. The wall is subtly stained with green stripes to suggest beach awnings. The project’s new buildings and landscaping elements were conceived to create a public gateway to the beach, an icon for the site’s history and a landmark for various types of community uses, returning the site to its former status as a landmark for the city and Southern California. The new entrance to the facility is at the south end, with public parking and public transport drop-off areas. A tall trellis frames the entrance to a boardwalk that runs the length of the site, parallel to the water, at the mean high tide line when the property was developed. After the Santa Monica Pier was built, the mean high tide line changed to raise the beach by 120 meters. This boardwalk is an index of the gradual changes in nature and is a link to each of the four main areas of the site: the entrance, the pool and pool house, the function house and the guest house. The entrance is flanked by the pre-existing “Back on the Beach” restaurant and toilets and changing rooms on one side and by the reception, ticket office and lifeguard building on the other. A shaded children’s play area and restaurant window are just past the beach entrance.

The historic pool and deck area, with restored tiles mosaics and stone paving, it is within a landscaped enclosure below beach level. Facing the pool is an independent white colonnade which defines the location and scale of the mansion’s façade. The footprint of the massive structure is outlined in the parking lot behind the Pool House. Behind the colonnade, a series of 14 concrete pillars, each 9 meters high, is the new Pool House with changing rooms, bathrooms and built-in cabana areas lined with stained wood in colors taken from the pool’s tile. On the second floor is a glass-enclosed function room and an open terrace overlooking the pool, with views along the coastline from the Santa Monica Pier to the Santa Monica Mountains and back to Palisades Park. former mansion, a second boardwalk facilitates access along the deep beach to the water’s edge. Continuing north, the boardwalk passes beach volleyball courts that maintain the presence of the game in the place where it was invented. On the inner side of the promenade, north of the pool, are a series of ground-level terraces framed by the landscape. These areas include a children’s play area with a reflecting pool and other spaces shaded by palm and melaleuca trees. The Casa de Eventos contains three rooms of different sizes, two with a fireplace, for community use.

The boardwalk ends at the north parking lot. Beach activities are supported by a small building that provides umbrellas, chairs, boogie boards and other beach paraphernalia. Beach volleyball courts are also available for public use.

The historic guesthouse is the focal point of the sequence of spaces and structures. Lovingly restored, North House is set in gardens and terraces that create a series of open-air rooms. A sculptural installation in front of artist Roy McMakin’s home relates to feelings of tradition and domesticity. A waterfall masks the sound of the highway in this space between the inn and Casa de Eventos. The inn accommodates community uses and didactic shows about the history of the place.

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