Monday, August 30, 2010

Local Iconic Home in Danger of Demolition

Southern California has been blessed with the existence of so many post-war and post-modern architecture, sometimes I think we take it a little for granted.  Who can not recognize the famous Chemosphere or Case Study House #22?  You may not know the names of these homes, (they were of course committed to my brain early in my design education) but you know their faces. 

Hugging the hills above Malaga Cove in Palos Verdes, CA sits the Moore House.  Other than obviously standing out amongst the ranch homes and Mediterranean revivals that are so prominent in the area this home was the brainchild of Architect Lloyd Wright.  Sound familiar? Lloyd Wright is the son of a man who needs no introduction, Frank Lloyd Wright.  Unlike his father's buildings that are scattered across the country, Lloyd Wright's architecture was mostly concentrated in Southern California.  Palos Verdes is home to another one of his structures, the beloved Wayfarer's Chapel that overlooks Portuguese Bend. I could go on and on about the significant structures this architect has contributed to the landscape that is Southern California, but that is not the intention of this blog.  The potential demolition of the Moore House is what I would like to bring to your attention and I feel is my responsibility being a designer of a firm that is literally down the street from this home.

The current owners purchased the home in 2004 with the intention of demolishing it and building new.  I can't imagine that they weren't aware of the home's famous past and they believe it to be "unfair that I would be asked to preserve the home at my cost for everyone else's benefit." Unfortunately Palos Verdes doesn't have a historical preservation society, and technically the home wasn't considered historic at the time of purchase.  Recently inspected by an independent consultant it was determined the home was historically significant and more reports are being conducted.   The point is, this house is an important piece of Southern California Architecture and History and should be treated with respect.  I understand that this type of architecture isn't for everyone.  But if history has taught us anything, there is a trickling effect and subsequently effects the place we find ourselves in today.  This demo was initially brought to the resident's attention because what the owners wanted to replace it with would grossly obstruct the neighbor's views because of it's size.

In a location and city where there is a tear-down mentality, and rightfully so, I wish that this one structure would be allowed to remain and if treated correctly, could bring positive attention to the city and owners instead of the opposite.  Architecture is art: a statement and fact that is easily forgotten in Southern California.

Lloyd Wright's Moore House or "Bird of Paradise" House.

Lloyd Wright's Wayfarer's Chapel

Other Iconic Post-Modern Homes: Chemosphere & Case Study #22

You don't have to like Post Modern Architecture, but you can't deny it's power.