After a lengthy battle Richard Neutra's Kronish House in Beverly Hills has been saved. Completed in 1955, the house, considered one of Neutra's finest (and largest), came very close to its demise this summer after its new owners refused preservationists' pleas and began the demolition process. But after the outcry got louder, the owners placed the demolition on hold, and now a buyer with an interest in restoring the home has just closed on the house. Redfin lists the price at $12.8 million, and the buyer remains a mystery. Meanwhile the city of Beverly Hills still has no preservation ordinance, although officials claim to be developing one. Let's get moving Beverly Hills, before another masterpiece isn't so lucky.
Posts tagged with "Beverly Hills":
Last month we reported on Beverly Hills' virtually nonexistent preservation policies and the destructive results for Modern architecture. Well those (lack of) rules seem to be at issue again, as we learn from Curbed LA that Richard Neutra's 1955 Kronish House is for sale, with a listing on Redfin emphasizing the land's "huge upside potential as a major estate." The listing does not even mention the name Neutra. The 7,000 square foot home on two acres was foreclosed on in January at $5.8 million. The listing invites buyers to "Bring your contractor to remodel the existing single story mid century home or build your dream home." According to the city it's too early to take any action, since no sale has taken place and no plans have been proposed. "As far as the city is concerned it's just a house for sale," said Beverly Hills spokesperson Therese Kosterman. "We can only deal with a proposal that's before us." Hopefully that proposal won't involve tearing down yet another midcentury masterpiece.
At the same time that Palm Springs is celebrating all things Modern at its Modernism Week, we just came across the pretty-much-completed demolition of Beverly Hills' 1961 Friars Club at 9900 Santa Monica Boulevard. The windowless, space age Modern building, designed by Sidney Eisenshtat, was one of several important structures by the architect, including Temple Emmanuel in Beverly Hills, Sinai Temple in Westwood, and the Wilshire Triangle Center. It was also the home of famous roasts by the likes of Jack Benny, Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle, Sammy Davis Jr. and Billy Crystal. "This is an important building by an important architect, and it will very soon be lost to us forever," said Scott Fine, director of Advocacy for the LA Conservancy. Despite being eligible for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources, it was unprotected because Beverly Hills has no protections for historic resources. That's right, none. Whatsoever. (love it or hate it, the building at least deserved a fair shot..) Meanwhile there are no immediate plans for a replacement building. So this will just be an empty lot for now. So much for a celebration of all things Modern in Beverly Hills, huh?
Gagosian Gallery is apparently trying to take over the world, with locations in New York, London, Rome, La Jolla, Hong Kong, and another coming to Paris. Its latest project is Richard Meier & Partners' expansion of its Beverly Hills gallery which Meier originally designed in 1995. The new space adds 5,000 square feet to what was a 6,600 square foot building. We were able to step inside the project, which opened today on Beverly Hills’ swank Camden Drive, and we weren’t disappointed. The extension combines Meier’s signature pristine white walls and abundant natural light (long acid-etched skylights on both sides of the space are semi-opaque, but still reveal the color of the sky) combined with the grittiness of a wonderful existing barreled vaulted wood truss roof, which was discovered when the firm removed the ceiling from the building’s former tenants, Umberto’s Hair Salon. A huge translucent glass and aluminum sliding door at the street also lets in glowing light, and provides an easy entry for oversized works. Inside the huge walls can support even larger art than before: the first exhibit features Andreas Gursky’s gargantuan, Google Earth-like manipulated photos from space. (Gursky didn’t make it to the press preview, our lone disappointment of the day). Future exhibitions will include Nancy Rubins’ outsized boat sculptures and Richard Serra’s Piranesian metalwork. The expansion also includes new second level offices, a private viewing gallery and a rooftop sculpture terrace, which will all be completed by July, said gallery director Deborah McLeod. So you’re probably wondering, what prompted Larry Gagosian to do all this expanding in this economy? According to McLeod the gallery signed its lease in September 2008, just before the bottom fell out of the economy. At that point they decided to not look back. “Larry is always interested in more,” said McLeod. Not to mention that working in this economy allowed the architects to find sub much easier, and for a much better price. “I think the timing worked out perfectly,” said Michael Palladino, Principal at Meier’s LA office.
According to the Santa Monica Daily Press (via our senseis at Curbed) Santa Monica has basically claimed victory in its battle against Beverly Hills for Eli Broad's new contemporary art museum. According to the story the Santa Monica City Council could vote on the deal as soon as this Tuesday. "I feel that the vast majority of issues have been discussed thoroughly and agreed to," City Councilman Bob Holbrook told the Daily Press. Meanwhile in Beverly Hills city spokeswoman Cheryl Burnett told the Daily Press she wasn't aware of any new developments in negotiations with the Broad Foundations. Doesn't look good for Beverly Hills.. We've called the city of Santa Monica to try to confirm, but have thus far gotten no answers. If built the Santa Monica museum would be located on a 2.5 acre parcel of land facing Main Street between the Santa Monica Courthouse and Civic Auditorium. It would become the permanent home for the Broad Collections, which contain over 2,000 artworks. The building would also house a research and study center as well as the foundation’s administrative headquarters. The foundation now uses a renovated 1927 building in Santa Monica, housing offices and a gallery, which is only open by reservation and too small for the sorts of exhibitions Broad has said he would like to host.
After making nary a peep about his proposed Beverly Hills museum since last April, Eli Broad is again making it clear that he wants the project to move forward. And that he wants it to be much bigger. According to the LA Times, a plan sent last month to the Beverly Hills Planning Department calls for nearly 50,000 square feet of exhibition space (including a 6,100 square foot outdoor area for sculpture), up from the 25,000 previously anticipated. According to the story he's also included Santa Monica as a possible contender for the museum, for which he would create a $200 million endowment. And now the cities are jockeying for position: Kevin McKeown, a Santa Monica city councilman, told the Times, "I'll do everything I can to make this happen." Meanwhile Cheryl Burnett, the city of Beverly Hills' spokeswoman, issued a statement saying, "While we recognize that the Broad Foundation has many options. . . . There's no better place than Beverly Hills to showcase this world-class contemporary art collection." Let..the..fireworks..begin.