Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spadena House, Henry Oliver, Designer 1921

A marvel of eccentric 'Storybook' style, the Spadena House was originally designed as a movie set and office for Irvin V. Willsit Productions in Culver City. The house has been preserved and now sits on a lovely street in Beverly Hills at the corner of Walden and Carmelita Drive.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Judge R. Holtby Myers Residence, J.F. Kavenaugh, Architect 1909

Architect: J.F. Kavenaugh designed the home in Mt. Washington for Judge Judge R. Holtby Myers in 1903. The house has the strong horizontal elements characteristic of the Craftsman style. Located at 834 Rome Drive in the Mt. Washington community of Los Angeles.

Chain Reaction by Paul Conrad

Paul Francis Conrad (1924-2010) was an American political cartoonist and chief editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times (1964-1993).He achieved notoriety for his many cartoons about the downfall of Richard Nixon. His depictions of political figures in bronze follow the caricature style of his commentary on the politics of the day, displaying the humor, pathos, and satire of his subjects. Conrad has also successfully executed some major pieces of public sculpture, including the Chain Reaction peace sculpture in Santa Monica seen here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Santa Monica City Hall, Donald B. Parkinson and Joseph M. Estep, Architects 1938-39

Designed by Architects Donald Parkinson and Joseph Estep between 1938-1939 in the Art-Deco-Moderne Style. The murals were painted by Stanton MacDonald-Wright, in a revolutionary new method of painting called “petrachrome.”, with the paint being mixed with crushed tile, marble, and granite, a technique recognized as an important development in the evolution of mural painting.

MacDonald-Wright was the director of the Southern California Division of the Federal Works Progress Administration form 1935-1942. He taught at Otis Art School where one of his students was Henry Lion, the sculptor of the Cabrillo statue (San Pedro). Located at 1685 Main Street in Santa Monica.

Pacific Design Center (PDC) Center Blue "Blue Whale" César Pelli, Architect 1975

The Pacific Design Center (PDC) is the home to some of the West Coast's top decorating and furniture showrooms, complete with a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and two Wolfgang Puck restaurants. The Center has 130 showrooms which display and sell 2,100 interior product lines to professional interior designers, architects, facility managers, decorators and dealers, The Center hosts the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party, one of the longest running of the post-Oscar parties.

The complex was designed by architect Cesar Pelli, the 14-acre campus opened in 1975, with the completion of its best-known component, Center Blue, popularly known as the "Blue Whale". The steel struc­ture co­vered with opaque blue glass of­fers design firms and fur­ni­ture manufacturers 67000 square me­ters of ex­hi­bi­tion space. Located at 8687 Melrose Avenue n West Hollywood.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Osborn Architects Office, Osborn Architects (OA), 1998-99

Award-winning home of the architectural practice, Osborn Architects in Glendale, CA. The open floor design encourages collaboration between principals, project managers and staff in an 'open mezzaninine with breakout meeting areas between workstations that allow for spontaneous conference.'

The building extends over the parking area in a dramatic complex of truss supports and sails like some mysterious marooned vessel beckoning our exploration. The complex received immediate recognition upon completion; the 'Outstanding Architectural Improvement Award' by the City of Glendale (1999), 'Distinguished Building Award' by the L.A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1998 and the 'Merit Award' by the Pasadena and Foothill Chapter of the AIA.

The Osborn Architects Office is located at 320 East Harvard Street in the City of Glendale, CA. The firm is directed by Timothy A. Ballard AIA, Principal, and Michael T. Pinto, Design Principal.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tansey House, Barry Milofsky, Architect (Remodel) c.2000

I have passed by this house hundreds of times, taking note of its special curb appeal. While visiting with Architect Barry Milofsky recently, I was picking his brain about some of the cool houses in Silver Lake that I was unsure of their heritage, this being one of them. It came as a bit of surprise when I learned that the architect was Milofsky himself.

Barry promised to give me the details (soon) on how he and the owners collaborated on the design, but for now, I couldn't resist publishing a "sneak preview". The Tansey House is located at 2120 Rockford Road in Silver Lake.

Arena House, William Asa Hudson, Architect c.1935

Architect William Asa Hudson (Beverly Hills Hotel bungalows) designed the romantic, Spanish Revival mansion for Anthony T. Arena in 1935. The house is currently (May 2011) on the market and listed for sale at $3,995,000. Located at 2340 North Vermont Avenue in the Los Feliz Neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Braasch House, Jean L Egasse, Architect c.1923

Originally part of a late 1800s working farm, Albert Braasch, an Eagle Rock pioneer and entrepreneur, purchased the property in the early 1900s. The Braaches subsequently subdivided the land, selling off adjacent lots while keeping the property on which the original farmhouse stood. Albert commissioned local architect Jean L. Egasse to help him redesign the farmhouse along "Norman lines, such as were left by the decedents of the Vikings, following their journey from an ante-medieval period, were the main source of inspiration." ("California Southland, December 1923"). The article goes on to explain how the farmhouse was transformed by the architect, “To design a house for a hillside as one would plan an ornament for a crown or sword hilt: to make the hill a picture or a tapestry of houses and gardens—this is the craft of J.L. Egasse who seems able to grasp the ensemble of a hillside and to build his house and garden as a part of the landscape.”

The collaboration between architect and owner is evident in the architect's "French-cum-Nordic" theme, inspired by Albert Braasch's masculine sensibilities. Albert's wife, Constance, a popular local music teacher and artist, added her own touch with fanciful wall sculptures and murals, some of which are still intact. The medieval theme mingles with storybook fantasy as noted in the book "Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide", "expecting Hansel and Gretel to appear at any moment”.

Ben Affleck, a former Occidental College student, lived in the house with then-roommate and co-writer Matt Damon while they wrote the script for Good Will Hunting, which would go on to win them a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award.

The house is currently (May 2011) on the market and listed for sale at $899,000. Visit www.2327HillDrive.com for more details!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Staples Center, NBBJ Architects 1999

Completed in 1999 at a cost of $375 Million, the Staples Center is the centerpiece of L.A.Live, the entertainment complex currently under development by the Anschutz Entertainment Group. The center is the only sports venue that is home to five professional sports franchises, the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings (NHL), Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA), Los Angeles Avengers (Arena Football League). The venue hosts 250 events and nearly 4 million visitors a year. Statues of hockey star Wayne Gretsky and basketball great Magic Johnson are located at the arena's entrance.

Staples Center is located in downtown Los Angeles at 1111 S. Figueroa Street.

Ohara House, Richard Neutra 1959

A centerpiece of the Neutra Colony of Homes, the Ohara House is a classic example of the work of Modernist Richard Neutra. Gracefully situated and composed with commanding views of the Lake, it is one of my personal favorites. It was recently purchased for $1,205,000.

Dave Keitel, former Chairperson of the Committee to Save Silver Lake's Reservoirs (CSSLR), recently pointed out to me that the CORRECT spelling of the name for this Neutra house is 'Ohara' rather than O'Hara. The 'Ohara' spelling is Japanese, rather than the Irish 'O'Hara'. Some of the original owners of these Neutra homes were Japanese, who chose Silver Lake (and Echo Park) to live in the middle of the 20th Century and before because there were no race-based restrictive covenants in these neighborhoods. Thankfully, we can take pride in a long tradition of inclusiveness in our community!

The Ohara House is located at 2210 Neutra Place in the Neutra Colony just above Silver Lake Blvd.

Mission San Juan Capistrano c.1776

Mission San Juan Capistrano is a Spanish mission, founded on All Saints Day November 1, 1776, by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order. Named for Giovanni da Capistrano, a 15th century theologian and "warrior priest" who resided in the Abruzzo region of Italy, San Juan Capistrano has the distinction of being home to the oldest building in California still in use, a chapel built in 1782; known alternately as "Serra's Chapel" and "Father Serra's Church," it is the only extant structure where it has been documented that the padre Junipero Serra celebrated mass. One of the best known of the Alta California missions (and one of the few missions to have actually been founded twice—others being Mission San Gabriel Arcángel and Mission La Purísima Concepción)—the site was originally consecrated on October 30, 1775, by Father Fermín Lasuén, but was quickly abandoned due to unrest among the indigenous population in San Diego. Located at 26801 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, California.

Falk Apartments, R.M. Schindler, Architect c.1939

Rudolph Schindler's Silver Lake architectural accomplishments were many and varied. This complex, located at 3631 Carnation Avenue, demonstrates Schindler's ability to tackle a difficult hillside project and make it a joyful living experience for each of the residents. Each of the units in this complex has its own private garden and roof terrace.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Beachwood Market Expansion, John Lautner, Architect 1954

The original market is next door, designed in a Spanish Mediterranean style. The owners selected John Lautner to design this contemporary addition in 1954, suiting the eclectic architecture of the surrounding neighborhood.

Located at 2699 Beachwood Drive in the Hollywood Hills.