B3 Architects went full-on mod-ern with this sleek beachfront home, boldly evoking the spirit of Neutra and Schindler. But unlike its mid-century forebears, this amply sized house (7,800 square feet) counts plenty of elements of sustainability among its virtues, as well. Designed and built with attention to thermal massing, durable and recycled materials, and double-glazed low-E windows, it surpasses California’s Title 24 requirements by a healthy margin—50 percent.

It also makes clever use of a tricky site wedged between a sandy beach and a noisy freeway. Designed as a multigenerational retreat for a retired couple (whose kids and grandkids visit frequently) the U-shaped home greets its street and highway sides with solid walls and extra insulation for sound buffering. Its beachfront elevation, however, is a kaleidoscope of steel and glass, offering panoramic views down the coast.

Oriented to capture that view, the home’s open communal areas—kitchen, dining, and living—flow together seamlessly underneath a “floating” bridge that connects its parallel sleeping wings.

It’s a house that is transparent where it does the most good and private where privacy is important.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Santa Barbara, CA.