Iconic Los Angeles: Historic Mid-Century Residences

California Modernism was a design and architectural style that forever changed Los Angeles. To this day, many of the most renowned mid-century modern homes in the country are in and around the City of Angels. One of the neighborhoods that received the most attention at the time was called Trousdale Estates, which was Hollywood’s favorite modernist community for years after its launch in 1954.

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Image courtesy of the New York Times.

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A. Quincy Jones designed Model Home for Trousdale Estates, 1954. Photo courtesy of Get the Five.

Trousdale Estates was intended for modern luxury from the moment ground was broken on the first lots. Only the best A-List architects of the time were chosen to build homes in the star-studded subdivision. Starchitects like Richard Dorman, Wallace Neff, Paul R. Williams, Cliff May, and A. Quincy Jones were commissioned to build homes for the likes of Groucho Marx, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin.

Although the famous neighborhood fell out of popularity in the 1970s, it has recently come back into vogue, like all things mid-century modern. Many of the estates are newly-restored and almost as spectacular today as they were in the 1950s.

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Trousdale Estates under construction, 1956. Photo courtesy of the New York Times.

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Irving Shafer’s residence designed by James Dolena in 1957. Photo courtesy of the New York Times.

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Interior view Frank Sinatra’s 1956 home by Paul Williams – now destroyed. Photo courtesy of Trousdale Over the Top.

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Harold W. Levitt designed house in 1958. Photo by Julius Shulman.

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Originally Groucho Marx’s House, designed by Wallace Neff in 1956. Photo courtesy of Get the Five.

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Originally Groucho Marx’s House, designed by Wallace Neff in 1956. Photo courtesy of Get the Five.

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Home designed in 1960 by William Stephenson. Photo courtesy of Curbed.

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Home designed in 1956 by Harold Levitt­ and currently owned by Ellen DeGeneres. Photo courtesy of the New York Times.

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Isabel Trust Residence, designed by W. McAllister in 1957. Photo courtesy of Marmol Radziner.

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Residence originally owned by Elvis Presley and designed by Rex Lotery in 1958. Photo courtesy of Get the Five.

May 21st, 2015|0 Comments

Three Awesome Home Tours to Catch this Summer

Don’t miss out on your local home tours this summer! Here’s a few prominent events to quench your thirst for great residential architecture:

2015 Silicon Valley Modern Home Tour: May 16th

This tour is a huge hit every year and there’s still a few tickets left! The self-driven tour includes both mid-century modern and contemporary beauties throughout the Silicon Valley area. Click here to learn more.

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Marin Living Home Tour: May 30th

AIA San Francisco and the Center for Architecture + Design present the 5th Marin Living: Home Tour, a one-day open house event that showcases a variety of architectural styles, neighborhoods and residences. It is the first tour series in the Bay Area to promote residential design from the architect’s point of view. Find out more.

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2015 Toronto Modern Home Tour: June 6th

The Toronto Modern Home Tour is a day of house-hopping around the city. The tour includes six modern homes and gives attendees rare insight into Toronto’s own brand of modern architecture and interior design. Click here to read more.

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May 12th, 2015|0 Comments

Inspire Me Monday: Down the Long Driveway, You’ll See it

Here’s a new book to get your creative juices flowing! The beautiful picture book is a visual story that illustrates the beauty and distinction of mid-century residences in New Zealand. See more of the book on downthelongdriveway.com.

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“These houses aren’t new, they’re old and lived in. They can be a little dusty, slightly worn around the edges and all have what antique dealers like to call “patina”. But they’re perfect in the minds of the people who live in them because of what they represent, which when designed, was a better way of living.”

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May 11th, 2015|0 Comments

Rejecting Autonomy: The Art and Architecture of Russian Constructivism

By rejecting autonomous art, the Russian Constructivists hoped to implement its practice as a means for social change and betterment. Constructivism was pervasive, with major impacts upon architecture, graphic and industrial design, theatre, film, dance, fashion, and to some extent music. Its impact on movements like Bauhaus and De Stijl is readily apparent.

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‘Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge’ by El Lissitzky, 1919. Photo courtesy of  Architizer.

Although it only lasted throughout the 1920s and ’30s, names like Vladimir Tatlin, El Lissitzky, and László Moholy-Nagy will live on forever. Today we present some of our favorite works of Russian Constructivism.

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Tatlin’s Tower by Vladimir Tatlin, 1919. Photo courtesy of Architizer.

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Gosplan Garage in Moscow by Konstantin Melnikov, 1936. Photo courtesy of Art Blart.

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Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow by Alexey Shchusev, 1930. Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Academy of Art University.

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The Red Banner Textile Factory in St. Petersburg by Erich Mendelsohn, 1926. Photo courtesy of Place and See.

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‘Architectural Fantasy № 20′ by Iakov Chernikhov, 1929. Photo courtesy of @rosswolfe1 on Flickr.

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‘City of the Future’ by Lev Vladimirovich Rudnev, 1927. Photo courtesy of Paper Tigers.

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Zuyev Workers’ Club in Moscow by Ilya Golosov, 1926. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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Shabolovka Radio Tower in Moscow by Vladimir Shukhov, 1922. Photo courtesy of Archdaily.

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Melnikov House in Moscow by Konstantin S. Melnikov, 1930. Photo courtesy of Archdaily.

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‘Proun 10′ by El Lissitzky, 1919. Photo courtesy of Monoskop.

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‘Spatial Construction no. 9′ by Aleksandr Rodchenko, 1920. Photo courtesy of MOMA.

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Movie poster for ‘Man With A Movie Camera’ by the Stenberg brothers, 1929. Photo courtesy of Eye Magazine.

May 7th, 2015|0 Comments

LA’s Quintissential Public and Corporate Spaces: Albert C. Martin, Jr.

It’s no wonder that Albert C. Martin, Jr. helped to shape the face of Los Angeles; his architect father had begun the process before he was even born!

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Albert C. Martin Sr. established the architecture firm Albert C. Martin & Associates in 1906, and was involved in countless projects across Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles City Hall and the Million Dollar Theatre downtown. His son Martin, Jr. joined the firm in 1936, introducing ideas of modernism and international design. His work includes some of the most prominent buildings in the Los Angeles city skyline of today.

Department of Water and Power Building

Designed by Martin, Jr. and his associates and completed in 1965, the seventeen-story Corporate International-style building rises from the center of an enormous reflecting pool punctuated by fountains.

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Municipal Services Building of Glendale

The 55,000-square-foot, three-story white concrete building soars twenty-one feet in the air above the four concrete pylons resting on granite-covered steel supports. The Municipal Services Building was completed in 1965 and remains a key element in Glendale’s modern architectural heritage.

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Security Pacific Bank Plaza

Completed in 1974, the tower is the fifth tallest building in Los Angeles, and the 92nd-tallest building in the United States. In 2009 it had the highest assessed value of any office building in Los Angeles County. When it was constructed, Security Pacific Plaza was unique for Downtown Los Angeles, in that its four sides each faced true north, south, east and west.

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Saint Basil Catholic Church

The 1969 building was designed to evoke the feel of a very early Christian church or a monastery, with unadorned exterior surfaces and an interior that felt like a place of refuge. It does this, but in a confident Brutalist style incorporating twelve angular, irregular concrete towers with a rough finish that exposes the aggregate.

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April 30th, 2015|0 Comments