A New Option

Malibu’s hometown architect has a new project underway to get Woolsey families back on their property much quicker and cheaper than they could have imagined.

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In the months since the Woolsey Fire destroyed more than 400 homes in Malibu, architect Doug Burdge, a decades-long Malibuite and principal of acclaimed Malibu design firm Burdge & Associates Architects, has been leading efforts to help arm his community with information and services during the complicated rebuilding process, through his platform Re-Bu (Rebuild Malibu).

 After talking with countless families rebuilding their homes over the last few months, it became clear their temporary housing situation was becoming another source of anxiety and frustration for many residents.

 As a result, Burdge has introduced an option to help get his community back home a little earlier, with a new system made entirely out of shipping containers.

 “With everything going on post-fire, we knew that people would begin looking into alternative building methods so they could get back into their homes quicker,” Burdge said. “Traditional custom building can take a lot of time and natural resources to complete. My team is always looking for ways to be innovative and resourceful in a culture that can be everything but. When a client approached us about rebuilding after the Woolsey fire with shipping containers, we responded, ‘Why not? Sounds awesome!’”

Burdge & Associates Architects principal Doug Burdge.

Burdge & Associates Architects principal Doug Burdge.

Less costly and time-consuming than traditional construction, shipping-container dwellings also provide flexibility; units can be mix-and-matched like legos, producing everything from a small bungalow to a traditional 3,000 square foot home with a two-car garage.  Burdge’s new project comes at a time when many rebuilding families in Malibu, facing sky-high rents in the area which insurance oftentimes won’t cover for the duration of construction, are looking for ways to complete the rebuilding process more efficiently.

 “This gives people an option to get on their property as soon as possible,” said Burdge. “You’re still paying your mortgage, you’re still paying for displacement costs.”

 Burdge said shipping containers could also present an option to the many home owners who want to stay on their Malibu properties but, underinsured, can’t afford  to rebuild their homes as they were before.

 “Maybe now you can’t afford to rebuild what you had,” said Burdge. “People can take these units as an opportunity to say, “I was ready to move out of Malibu,’ but this presents a whole other [option].”

 Hoping to provide even more cost and time-effective options for Malibu families, Burdge has recently partnered with a leading prefab company on a line of units specially designed for Malibu. Details of their collaboration will be released later this summer. MM

Burdge & Associates Architects

24911 PCH

(310) 456-5905


Holly Bieler