Friday Five with Grant Kirkpatrick

Born and raised in Palos Verdes, California native Grant Kirkpatrick now calls Manhattan Beach home where he heads up KAA Design, the firm he started 25 years ago. After graduating from USC with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, Kirkpatrick became a licensed architect at the age of 24, before going on to found his award-winning firm in 1988. While they’ve completed projects for Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hugo Boss stores, Christie’s auction house, the Santa Monica Beach Club, and more, they now focus on contemporary residential design exclusively. In his spare time, Kirkpatrick teaches and lectures on Southern California residential architecture, along with devoting time to various community organizations. When it’s time to get away, he heads with his family to his vineyard in Central California. This Friday Five takes a look at some of the things this busy architect loves.

Lake Nacimiento on Split Rock Ranch by Grant Kirkpatrick

1. Lakes
My wife and I were both fortunate to spend our childhood summers on a lake. I think it left a legacy of peace and serenity that I find in lakes everywhere.

Photo by Manolo Langis

2. Concrete
The search for integrity in the design and building process is paramount. Construction methods and materials are constantly analyzed for their honesty in both respects and, as such, the process of formed concrete as an exposed building material finds its way into much of what we do. Respected for its strength and performance in an active seismic climate, it is equally appreciated for its ability to set a contrasting stage for warmer, more expected counterparts such as fine woods, excavated stone, and integral color plaster. Mostly, it gives us a sense of permanence and calm.

Photo courtesy of Grant Kirkpatrick

3. Chevy Camaro
My 1967 RS Camaro Convertible. Blue on blue with a white top. I have always loved the lines on the first generation Camaro and when I saw this one online in Texas, I flew there with my son and drove it back on Route 66 with him for a week. We stopped at every Dairy Queen and never stayed in a motel over $50 a night.

Richard Diebencorn’s “Ocean Park” – courtesy of the Orange County Museum of Art

4. Richard Diebenkorn
The integrated architecture, landscape, and interior design were inspired by the work of celebrated artist Richard Diebenkorn whose work “connected blue, green, gray, and earthen colors and their proportions to sea and sky, and to natural and urban landscapes, placing the artist in his latest Ocean Park phase as part of a continuing tradition of artists influenced by the landscape of Southern California.” Ocean Park paintings are condensations of a career-long probing of historic modernism and as such, the home is an abstract, three-dimensional probing of California Modernism that not only pays tribute to Diebenkorn and his associated homages to Matisse, Rothko and Mondrian, but also to California’s early California Modernist architects including Rudolf Schindler, Richard Neutra, and their mentor, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Nolli Map of Rome by Giambatista Nolli

5. Maps
I have collected maps since I was a kid. One of my favorites is the Nolli Map of Rome by Giambatista Nolli of 1748. I have a serigraph copy of all 12 plates. I am not entirely sure what intoxicates me about virtually every map I see – I have to believe it is the collected sense of history, of journey and destination, of untold amounts of effort. But likely it comes down to the seduction of texture.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.