While William Pereira’s Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) may soon face the wrecking ball in favor of Peter Zumthor’s tar-inspired blob, the Los Angeles Conservancy is trying to ensure that another iconic Pereira building remains. On Monday, the Conservancy filed an application to landmark Pereira and Luckman’s Television City, an International Style icon at the corner of Beverly and Fairfax. CBS is reportedly considering a sale of the site, which brokers have valued at anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion. Built in 1952, Television City was one of the first complexes constructed specifically for television production and broadcasting. Containing sound stages, studios, editing rooms, offices, and rehearsal halls, its rectangular volumes are clad in black and white walls of glass and stucco, with red accents. The complex has hosted The Carol Burnett Show, All in the Family, and The Ed Sullivan Show, and is currently home to The Price Is Right and The Late Late Show with James Corden. Landmark designation would require preservation design review and approval through the city’s Office of Historic Resources to guide any redevelopment and adaptive reuse of the campus, including new infill construction.
Posts tagged with "Los Angeles Conservancy":
On Friday, the LA Times’ architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne reported that Craig Ellwood and Jerrold Lomax's Hunt House in Malibu faces a demolition threat. AN reached out to several experts on Ellwood, preservation, and modern architecture for comments on what this means for Los Angeles. Designed in 1957, the modest beachside home built for Victor and Elizabeth Hunt is considered an iconic piece of midcentury architecture. Late last year, Hawthorne noted, documents were filed with the Malibu Planning Commission to replace the 1,335-square-foot Hunt House (sold in 2012 for $5.3 million) with a “a new 28-foot-tall, two-story, 5,511-square-foot single-family residence.” “The Hunt House looming demolition is a textbook case of artwork misread as real estate object,” wrote architect and educator Pierluigi Serraino in an email. As author of numerous writings on midcentury design, including California Modernism (Chronicle Books, 2006), he put a fine point not on the historic value or the property value, but on the true cultural value of the structure. “This is one of the landmark buildings of California Modernism and its potential loss would be sheer loss of cultural identity. Collector value as opposed to real estate value can provide a more apt lens to evaluate this small inventory of gems,” he continued. “Imagine if what is threatening the Hunt House happened to the Eames House. [The] proposed demolition speaks to the utter disregard a selected few have for what belongs symbolically to the collective.” In 1967, Esther McCoy was commissioned to write an essay for the Craig Ellwood monograph published by Bruno Alfieri the following year. In it, she discusses how the Hunt House by Ellwood and Lomax (who is uncredited) sets the tone for the firm’s work to come and solidifies its influences. “McCoy’s essay points out Ellwood's love for good detailing, adherence to logic ("the logic of steel"), independent spirit, and a sense of refinement informed by the 'full stark splendor' of Mies and modular principles found in Japanese houses and industrial buildings,” noted Susan Morgan, editor of Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader. “[McCoy] wrote that the Hunt House—with its H-plan, distinct volumes and levels—was very important in Ellwood's development: The three space frames are more three-dimensional Mondrian than Mies.” Morgan also reminded AN that the Hunt House features in Reyner Banham’s Architecture of Four Ecologies as the northernmost edge of Surfubria, his first ecology on beaches. Rudolph Schindler’s Lovell Beach House marks the southern boundary. The Hunt House, like other midcentury designs, is particularly vulnerable to demolition due to trends for larger homes, maintenance issues, and land values. “It’s worth noting that the City of Malibu has no protections for its historic places and got an F on our 2014 Preservation Report Card,” said Los Angeles Conservancy's Director of Communications Cindy Olnick. In October, the Los Angeles Conservancy sent a letter to Malibu Planning Commission calling for an “Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prior to the approval of any project that would adversely impact the building.” The organization urges individuals concerned about the fate of the house to write to the commission via Malibu City Hall.
According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, yet another John Lautner building is in imminent danger. This time it's the architect's Crippled Children's Society Rehabilitation Center, now known as the AbilityFirst Paul Weston Work Center, in Woodland Hills. Current owner AbilityFirst and Oakmont Senior Living, the potential buyer, submitted for a demolition and new construction permit in February, hoping to build a new Eldercare facility on the site, and the project was presented at a city Zoning Administration public hearing this week. At the meeting the Conservancy stressed that the structure was identified through the city’s SurveyLA survey process in 2013 as eligible for listing in both the California Register and as a local Los Angeles landmark. But it was not identified by LA City Planning as a historic resource in the project’s environmental review. In a letter to LA City Planning the Conservancy said the review's conclusion that the new building will have "no impact" was based on "flawed analysis," and called for the city to reject its findings. The building, designed in 1979, was built on a unique circular, pie-shaped plan, with wings radiating from a central office. The conservancy is trying to stop it from joining Lautner's Shusett House (below) in Beverly Hills, which was torn down in 2010. The Conservancy is asking people to write to LA City planning about the building by Tuesday.
Thanks to the efforts of the Los Angeles Conservancy's Modern Committee, ten homes from Southern California's Case Study House program have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Launched by Arts + Architecture magazine in 1945, the Case Study program emphasized experiment and affordability, and produced some of the most famous houses in U.S. history, including the Eames House (Case Study #8), and Pierre Koenig's Stahl House (Case Study #22). Overall, 35 plans were published, and 25 homes were built. The National Parks Service listed the ten residences on the National Register in late July. (One more home was deemed eligible but its owners objected.) While not completely safe, all will be granted preservation protections under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). While the Eames House had already been listed, those added to the list include Case Study #1, 9, 10, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23A, 23C, and 28. The move is especially important because several Case Study homes have been demolished, and others have been altered beyond recognition. “With so few Case Study Houses in existence, and a few owners who do not appreciate the homes’ cultural and architectural significance, we need to stay vigilant,” said Regina O’Brien, chair of the LA Conservancy's Modern Committee, in a statement.
For those of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s, it's time to feel old. As part of its "Curating The City" series, the Los Angeles Conservancy is tomorrow hosting an amazing tour called Venice Eclectic: Modern Architecture from the 1970s and ’80s. The event features looks inside whimsical buildings by, among others, Frank Gehry (Indiana Avenue Houses/Arnoldi Triplex), Steven Ehrlich (Ed Moses Studio), Brian Murphy (Hopper House, above), Frederick Fisher, and Frank Israel. Yes, it's time to appreciate these decades for more than disco and Madonna. After the tour there will be a panel featuring Ehrlich, Fisher, and Murphy. And that's just the beginning of a busy weekend for LA architecture and urbanism buffs. There's also SCI-Arc's 40th birthday party on Saturday night and CicLAvia—with an expanded route going all the way to the ocean for the first time—on Sunday. Get going.
Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright's son, was one of California's most talented modernist architects, but he was overshadowed by his father's fame and notoriety. Wright's lack of press largely led to the destruction yesterday of his Moore House (1958) in Palos Verdes, a ritzy beach town near Los Angeles. Apparently, when the owners of the property planned the demolition they had never heard of the architect. The city council denied an appeal from the Los Angeles Conservancy, and now the winged, x-shaped house is gone. According to Curbed, the owner wants to build a Mediterranean McMansion in its place. Like so many cities, Palos Verdes has no preservation ordinance. The city's Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the demolition concluded that the house couldn't be "feasibly renovated to meet the owners’ needs for updated living space." This despite LA Conservancy testimony that the house was "extraordinarily unique," and that the EIR failed to list a "range of reasonable alternatives" to destroying the house. Also despite hundreds of letters from locals opposing the demolition.
Yesterday the Los Angeles Conservancy held its annual Preservation Awards at a packed ballroom in the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown LA. Some interesting tidbits we picked up about the winners: The Biscuit Factory Lofts Downtown used to be a Nabisco bakery, making Oreos and other treats. Cole's, the famous French Dip restaurant Downtown that opened over 100 years ago, is located in a former terminal for red car street cars. The day prohibition ended Cole's served 2,000 gallons of beer. Griffith Park's application for landmark status was 400 pages long. And the La Laguna De San Gabriel Park Historic Structures include Stella the Starfish, Peanut the Green Dolphin, and Ozzie the Octopus. The winners were all impressive. Here's the list: Biscuit Company Lofts (Aleks Istanbullu Architects and Donald Barany Architects) Cole's, Originators of the French Dip (Kelly Architects and Historic Resources Group) First Church of Christ Scientist, Pasadena (Architectural Resources Group) Griffith Park City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument Application Hollywood Palladium (COE Architecture, Architectural Resources Group and KKE Architects) La Laguna De San Gabriel Historic Structures Report and Preservation Plan (Garavaglia Architecture) Malibu Pier (Architecture & Light and Historic Resources Group) Mark Taper Forum (Rios Clementi Hale Studios and Harley Ellis Devereaux) Pisgah Village (Ena Dubnoff Architects)