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?
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