In honor of the passage earlier this month of LA’s Baseline Hillside Ordinance (Warning: PDF), which prevents “out-of-scale” single family development on LA’s hillsides via height and FAR restrictions, we’ve dug up five of the most ridiculously gigantic homes in the city. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of square footage, bathrooms (why does the number of bathrooms always seem to double the number of bedrooms?) and opulent taste (note the preponderance of French Chateaus: will there be another revolution?) The ordinance, which goes into effect on May 9, is the third in a series of city measures to prevent McMansions and other neighborhood busters. So perhaps say goodbye to this type of development in LA. At least for now.
Finally. After 39 years of wandering around Los Angeles and trying to convince its landlord to sell, SCI-Arc today announced that it has bought its building in LA’s Downtown Arts District. The 1,250 foot-long Santa Fe Freight Yard Depot building, a reinforced concrete structure designed by architect Harrison Albright, stretches seemingly forever along Santa Fe Avenue. Students like to bike or skateboard inside it to get to class.
The school moved to the former rail depot 10 years ago after a 2001 renovation by architect Gary Paige. The school’s opening came when building owner Meruelo Maddux Properties filed for bankruptcy—meaning it really needed the money. The school bought the property for $23.1 million. Other homes for the school have included Marina Del Rey and Santa Monica. But now it finally has a real home.
And their edgy, coarse and lively corner of downtown, as SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss has pointed out, is where it’s always wanted to be. “SCI-Arc is absolutely committed to Downtown,” he told AN in a recent interview, adding that the area is a laboratory for architectural and urban development. “We are staying Downtown. Period.”
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.”
This week Rizzoli releases Julius Shulman Los Angeles: The Birth of a Modern Metropolis co-authored by AN’s own West Coast editor Sam Lubell and Doug Woods. The book features the seven decades’ worth of images (many never published), not only of Shulman’s iconic photographs of mid-century houses by Neutra and Eames but also of his lesser known explorations of the streetscapes and surroundings of the city he most adored, Los Angeles. The publisher is marking the occasion with events in Los Angeles (April 15) and New York City (April 21).
TONIGHT in Los Angeles!
7:00 p.m., Friday, April 15 :
Meet the authors, who will discuss the book as part of a panel (among the featured speakers is Judy McKee, Shulman’s only child and the executor of his estate) and book signing.
Location: Julius Shulman Institute at Woodbury University, 7500 Glenoaks Boulevard, Burbank , CA
NEXT WEEK in New York!
5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 21:
Book signing with author Sam Lubell.
Location: Rizzoli Bookstore, 31 West 57th St., New York
Please visit AN’s diary for more info.
Why doesn’t landscape architecture in Southern California get the same attention as architecture? That’s one of the questions that will be answered at Friday’s Landscapes for Living conference at SCI-Arc. The event, organized by the Cultural Landscape Foundation, will focus on Post War Landscape designs in the region, which have largely stayed under the radar. For instance, who has heard of Ralph Cornell, who designed legendary landscapes like the Torrey Pines preserve near San Diego, Beverly Gardens in Beverly Hills and the Civic Center Mall and Music Center plaza in Downtown LA ? Other subjects will include Ruth Shelhorn, the only female architect to work on the original plans for Disneyland, and designer of the park’s entrance and Main Street; Bridges and Troller, who designed Century City; Lawrence Halprin, better known for his parks in the Pacific Northwest but also active in California; and of course the legendary (but under appreciated) Garret Eckbo.
If you love the work of Richard Neutra or his son Dion, check out the round of festivities in LA this weekend that we like to call NEUTRAPALOOZA! They’re otherwise known as the Neutra Practice 85th anniversary Celebration Party. Our favorite event is the “Followers of Famous Design Fathers” symposium on Saturday, which will include Eric Lloyd Wright, Emily Ain, and Nathaniel Kahn, among others. And for you lucky Neutra house owners, there’s the Reunion of Neutra Owners, Clients, Collaborators, and Builders later in the day. The events end on Sunday with a comprehensive Neutra Interiors tour and a tour of Neutra’s famous Lovell Health House in Los Feliz. If you’re a Neutra fan you really shouldn’t miss this. And if you’re not, you’ll probably become one if you go. Either way you can’t lose.
Every architect has a mental file of unusual client requests, but few, if any, have been asked to make a wall dance. Yet, in essence, that’s what San Francisco architect Christopher Haas created—not for a client, but for a collaborator, Alonzo King, the San-Francisco-based choreographer. For King’s LINES Ballet company’s spring season that premieres April 15-24 at the city’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Haas created a wall that performs, but not as a soloist. Read More
After years of waiting, as of this past weekend Silver Lake residents can finally enjoy the “Meadow,” a 6-acre swath of grassy land adjacent to the Silver Lake Reservoir and west of Silver Lake Boulevard that’s been fought over and delayed for several years. It was determined that the Meadow could be opened to the public because the Reservoir itself will soon be replaced as a drinking water source by underground storage tanks north of Griffith Park (plus restless neighbors fearing outsider encroachment and the destruction of local habitats finally relented). We finally had a spare second to check it out today, and were very impressed.
One of the biggest projects on the San Francisco Peninsula is the upcoming $720 million Stanford Hospital. It will replace — though not displace — the hospital’s current home, a three-story affair designed by Edward Durell Stone in 1959, which has a concrete brise-soleil and is very much a building of its time. The new structure, which Rafael Viñoly Architects is in charge of, looks more like a hotel than a hospital, and the design is an indication of what state-of-the-art healthcare facilities are emphasizing these days. Designed to maximize natural lighting in what is often a rather closed, oppressive environment, the Viñoly hospital features a checkerboard layout, in which buildings are interspersed with squares of open space.