Do you drive around looking for Modernist houses? Then you’re going to love working as a volunteer USModernist field research agent, finding and photographing La-area houses online and/or in your car for the award-winning nonprofit preservation site USModernist, the largest open digital archive for Modernist houses in the world. We’re looking to complete archives on Los Angeles-based architects Gregory Ain, Craig Ellwood, Raphael Soriano, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Quincy Jones, and more all found here. Field research agents volunteer 3-4 hours every other week. This can be as simple as taking an afternoon to drive around, or a few hours at night to surf the web. Warning: hunting for and researching Modernist houses is seriously addictive, as anyone seriously reading this already knows! Do you have the passion, curiosity, and – be honest – available time? Send an email with your name, phone number, address, and architects you’re most interested in. You’ll have a short interview scheduled within a week. Thanks!
Posts in category Mid-Century Modern
From the comfort of your laptop, car, or both, be a volunteer USModernist field research agent in Los Angeles. Research Modernist houses online and/or in your car to solve the missing pieces of USModernist, the largest open digital archive for Modernist houses in the world. We’re looking to complete our archives on Los Angeles-based architects Gregory Ain, Craig Ellwood, Raphael Soriano, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Quincy Jones, and more all found here.
Field research agents volunteer about two hours a week, or about four hours every other week. This can be as simple as taking an afternoon to drive around, or a few hours at night to surf the web. Warning: hunting for and researching Modernist houses is seriously addictive, if you’re really into architecture. You’ll work with our chief of research, Catherine Cramer.
Do you have the passion, curiousity, and available time? Send an email with your name, phone number, address, and which architects you’re most interested in. Thanks!
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has put his Echo Park area home on the market, listed for sale for $1,650,000. Garcetti lived in the house during his term on the Los Angeles City Council, representing District 13. The house, which he shared with his wife, Amy Wakeland has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, and is described in the listing as “The Garcetti/Wakeland residence. C. 1953. Daniel L. Dworsky, AIA. Recently featured in the Wall Street Journal and on the cover of Dwell. Sited on almost half an acre of land, this 3 bedroom/2 Bathroom Echo Park Hills Post and Beam home was renovated and expanded by Architect Elissa Scarfano to emphasize its modernist characteristics while making it more comfortable for current living utilizing sustainable materials and greater energy efficiency. PRIVACY, an open flexible floor plan, floor to ceiling windows, myriad Indoor/outdoor living spaces, solar panels, sweeping city and canyon views. Great room with double sided fireplace, Cook’s kitchen, First floor bedroom offers ensuite living area, Master and 2nd bedroom upstairs. With its terraced organic vegetable garden, citrus orchard and easy access to Elysian Park, this rare offering is ideal for hikers, outdoor enthusiasts and gardeners, a calm and peaceful retreat in the heart of LA”.
The Garcetti-Wakeland Residence is located at 2120 Avon Street.
Architect Raul F. Garduno designed the spec house with financial assistance from Peter D. Heiser, an associate he met while studying at the University of California between 1959 and 1960. The original building permit shows Heiser and Garduno as the original owners. Peter sold his Corvette, a gift from his grandmother and used the funds to purchase the lot and one other adjacent lot upon which the house was built.
The two bedroom, two bath home in 1395 sq. ft. is currently (July 2015) on the market listed for sale for $899,000 and described in the listing as “open-air, steel, glass, post and beam home with stunning views of the hillsides, vistas of the Hollywood Sign & Griffith Park Observatory. open-air, steel, glass, post and beam home is irreplaceable! Stunning views of the hillsides, & vistas of the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Park Observatory. Published in the L.A. Times Home Section, & in “Art and Architecture” 1961 edition, this mid-century is perched hillside with 500 sq. ft of decks surrounding the home. Acacia and Pine trees, & lush landscaping, give shade to the back. Walls of glass surround living room in an open floorplan. Designed with views & northwest breezes in mind. There’s even an atrium perfect for an outdoor Zen/yoga retreat. Bring back the master bath to its’ architectural significance with sunken tub & new fixtures. Asian style sliding closet doors throughout. Original walnut cabinetry, cooktop, dbl-oven, & built-in bbq. Bring your Eames chair, Barcelona table & move right in or restore it back to its’ glory”.
Located at 1954 Lucile Avenue.
I have passed this duplex a thousand times, and often wondered about its architectural provenance. I had assumed it was designed by Kemper Nomland Jr. who built several small apartment complexes in the immediate vicinity of a similar nature.
My curiosity was piqued when in a discussion with architect Raúl Garduño’s ex-wife Barbara Trembley, she indicated that she and Raúl lived in the “Rodney Walker Apartments” located at 21953 Effie Street after which I decided that I had to find out for certain the truth of the matter. After receiving a copy of the original building permit from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, I had the pleasant satisfaction of leaning that the Effie Street duplex was designed by none other than Carl Maston for Bob Stevens in 1953. As far as I have been able to ascertain, the Effie Street duplex is the only property designed by Maston in Silver Lake.
Maston designed more than 100 buildings during a long career, including private residences, apartment buildings, shopping centers and large-scale institutional projects. He is best known for his experimental work in designing garden apartments.
The Bob Stevens Apartments are located at 2953-57 Effie Street.
This distinctive home located at 3200 Fernwood Avenue is one of three in a row designed by Stephen Siskind in the late 1950s. They are characterized by a u-shaped floor plan and wing-shaped roof lines. The owner of this home, Norman Zeller informed me that Siskind moved his architectural practice to Miami after completing these projects.
The Yates Studio is located at 1735 Micheltorena Street in the Moreno Highlands of Silver Lake.
Exterior View (rear). This photo demonstrates Kesling’s use of custom, horizontal casement windows, constructed in bands, a classic detail of the Streamline Moderne Style.
Mid-Century gem located in the highlands of Silver Lake, a neighborhood of Los Angeles with a high concentration of noteworthy homes of the period. The house at 1887 Lucile Avenue I would have thought had a distinguished architectural pedigree. A visit to the Records Department at the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety proved me wrong. No architect was listed on the original building permit; instead the house was built for a Mr. William Tom by Hilltop Builders, a contracting firm located at 9059 West Sunset Boulevard at an estimated cost of $20,000 in 1962.
The three bedroom, two bath house in 1590 sq. ft. is currently (October 2013) on the market listed for sale at a very reasonable $808,888. I expect it will be gone shortly with multiple offers, given the hoards of people that were at the Open House today.
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Originally a duplex, Schindler’s design evolved into a single family home to fit the owner’s changing circumstances. Sleeping quarters, a studio and library were added above the garage. The overall design reflects Schindler’s late de Stijl influence.Located at 1805 Maltman Avenue, the home is currently on the market for $1,095,000 (November 8, 2009).
The experimental home where the Neutra family lived in Silver Lake, known as the Van der Leeuw Research House (VDL) in honor of Neutra’s patron, the young Dutch industrialist, Kees van der Leeuw. In the early 1930s, this home was the workshop for such distinguished architects as Gregory Ain, H.H. Harris, and Raphael Soriano all of whom served their architectural apprenticeship under the watchful eye of Richard Neutra.The original house, built in the pure International Style, was partially destroyed by fire in 1963, The present structure was rebuilt by Richard’s son, Dion Neutra on the original footprint. The house was willed by Dionne Niedermann Neutra, to the College of Environmental Design, California State Polytechnic University at Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona), which is charged with its restoration and maintenance, as well as a research center.The VDL Research House is located at 2300 Silver Lake Blvd. in Silver Lake. It was declared an Historic-Cultural Monument in the City of Los Angeles in 1997. (No. 640). To arrange a tour of the Center, call the University at (909) 869-2667.
Gregory Ain studied architecture at the University of Southern California during the years 1927-28. While the fashion of architectural training of the day was for the ‘beaux arts’, the movement towards modernism was beginning to make its impact at all levels of life, including architecture. These revolutions in our understanding of any human endeavor often have their beginnings on the campuses of the world’s universities. As a youth, Gregory Ain was acquainted with Rudolf Schindler’s Kings Road house, and this ‘new style’ of architecture definitely had an impact upon him.After graduation, Gregory Ain went to work in the office of Richard Neutra in Silver Lake, already established as one of the ‘young lions’ of the emerging modernist movement. Early in his career, Gregory Ain developed an interest In group housing for low and middle income families. In 1937, he began the development of Dunsmuir Flats, which became his signature work, and which through the photography of the great Julius Shulman, established his reputation.
In 1940 Ain received a Guggenheim Fellowship for the development of low-cost housing. One of the most successful schemes was the Avenal Housing Project in Silver Lake, twenty attractive hillside units with private patios and living rooms with views, built for the members of a musician’s union whos members worked in the film industry.
Tierman House, located at 2323 Micheltorena Street in the Moreno Highlands was designated in 1974 by the City of Los Angeles as a Historic Cultural Monument (No. 124) and noted for its ‘architectural simplicity and elegance achieved through relationship between building and site.’
Other Gregory Ain homes in Silver Lake are Daniels House, 1856 Micheltorena Street and Orans House, 2404 Micheltorena Street. There is also an office building located at 2311 Hyperion Avenue in Silver Lake which was once the office of Gregory Ain and James Garrott, one of the few African-American architects in practice at the time.
One of the nine houses comprising the ‘Neutra Colony’ built incrementally between 1948 and 1961. The Sokol house was the first of the group and is distinctively different from the others. It is also one of the largest of the group, being 2382 square feet. The colony was designed as a ‘posturing group’ that is, ‘the grouping of a team in cooperative action, where each individual posture complements the others and no soulless, mere side-by-side prevails.’ The result is a ‘community with a sense of sensual, animated tranquility, of accomplished sophistication rendered simply by mature hands. Each house is unique.’Sokol House is located at 2242 E. Silver Lake Blvd.(Notes taken from ‘NEUTRA: Complete Works’, published by Taschen Press 2000, by Barbara Mac Lamprecht, Peter Goessel, Editor, with Dion Neuta and Julius Shulman)
There is a excellent book on William Kesling entitlted: ‘Kesling Modern Structures: Popularizing Modern Design in Southern California’ that makes for fascinating reading. The book chronicles the man and his work, beginning in Los Angeles in the 1930’s his downfall and fall from grace, and his later re-emergence in San Diego during World War II where he experienced a new appreciation for his talents.
‘Kesling Modern Structures: Popularizing Modern Design in Southern California 1943-1962’ by Patrick Pascal, with photographs by Julius Shulman and David Sadofski, Balcony Press, Publisher, 2002.
One of Lautner’s iconic works, ‘Silvertop’ as it is affectionately known, sits atop Micheltorena Street at No. 2138. As the Canfield-Moreno Estate defines the best of Beaux-Arts Architecture in Silver Lake, ‘Silvertop’ sets the high water mark for the Modernist Style. Totally unique in its structure and design, this magnificent property reflects both the influence of his mentor, Frank Lloyd Wright (whom he worked under at Taliesin between 1933 and 1939) and his own daring and inventive ideas. Pictured are Martin Shall (you-are-here.com) with friend Rita Wirth on a visit during November 2006.
Built on a steep hillside in Silver Lake’s architecturally-significant Silver Ridge Avenue, the multilevel Sharlin House represents a significant departure from the architect’s typical single story home. Projecting trellises, shown here, contribute handsomely to the building’s overall design.Gregory Ain designed the house for the Sharlin family. Rose Scharlin was the moving force behind the very first cooperative nursery school in the City of Los Angeles c.1939, and the model upon which local schools patterned themselves. Beginning as the Echo Park Cooperative Nursery School, using the facilities of the Echo Park Playground, a number of its members decided to start a similar school for the Silver Lake area and broke away from the original group, taking with them as the new school�s director Mrs. Rose Scharlin in 1946. The new school began as the Lakeview Cooperative Nursery School at the present school site, which was then an abandoned tennis court. Rose Scharlin fostered the concept of parents and children growing and learning together within the group. When Rose Scharlin died in 1948, the name of the school was changed in her memory. In 1955 it merged with the old Echo Park School to become one again.Located at 2363 Silver Ridge Avenue in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.