Archives For Architecture

Bungalow Heaven

February 11, 2015 — Leave a comment

Bungalow Heaven is a quiet, leafy, close-knit neighborhood of historic, early 20th century bungalow homes, many built during the Arts & Crafts period. The Landmark District, the first of its kind in Pasadena, was created in 1989 to preserve the historic significance of these homes. Recently, Bungalow Heaven has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated as one of the “10 great places in America” by the APA.

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The homes were primarily constructed in the early 1900’s in the spirit of the Arts and Crafts movement. The Arts and Crafts movement placed a strong emphasis on individual craftsmanship and attention to detail. The style is perhaps best represented by Pasadena’s Gamble House, butBungalow Heaven represents the style in a manner consistent with the common Pasadena residents daily experience.

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Every April Bungalow Heaven is filled with visitors who pay homage to what makes the neighborhood historic, the homes. The Home Tour is a celebration of the people that lived here before and the artistry of the architecture of a time gone by. In an era where the old is torn down for newer flashier things, it’s good to know that there is still a place where people can come and honor the past.

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The current residents of the neighborhood were so proud of their homes that they wanted to get the government involved; they had the area designated as a Landmark District by the city in 1989, which helped impose restrictions on the kind of alterations that homeowners could perform. They convinced the U.S. Department of the Interior to include the area in the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. The residents also help run the Annual Bungalow Heaven Home Tour, which provides an opportunity to tour the interiors of selected homes. The Tour is a great idea since it is otherwise not socially acceptable to walk through strangers homes.

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The Tour features the homes along North Chester Ave. and North Michigan Ave. between East Mountain Street and East Orange Boulevard. The homes have many distinctive features. The Craftsman Bungalow exteriors are characterized by their one-and-a-half-story height, slanted roof,  wide front porch, and sleeping porch. The interiors often contain built-in cabinets and seats, a California basement, and an emphasis on all things horizontal. Many of the homes along Michigan Ave. feature arroyo stones within their fireplaces and along the front porch and intricate windows within the wide front doors. These characteristics were particularly prominent in the “Living History Home” featured on the Tour. The Living History Home Tour takes you through the lives of character actors portraying the realty issues in the 1970’s.

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WHAT: Bungalow Heaven
WHEN: Contact for details 
WHERE: Pasadena, CA 91102

CONTACT INFO: (626) 585-2172 | bhna@bungalowheaven.org

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Yelp

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The Gamble House

February 6, 2015 — Leave a comment

The Gamble House in Pasadena is an outstanding example of American Arts and Crafts style architecture. The house and furnishings were designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter & Gamble Company.

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The house, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978, is owned by the City of Pasadena and operated by the University of Southern California.

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One-hour docent-led tours are available to the public Thursday-Sunday. Tours begin at noon with the last tour beginning at 3:00 p.m. A picnic opportunity awaits every week on Brown-Bag Tuesdays. Enjoy your lunch on the terrace and take a docent-led 20-minute tour at 12:15 or 12:45 pm. Docent-led tours are the only way to gain access to the interior of the house. Advance reservations are strongly recommended.

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WHAT: The Gamble House
WHEN: Open daily 
WHERE: 4 Westmoreland Place | Pasadena, CA 91103

CONTACT INFO: (626) 793-3334 | gamblehs@usc.edu

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Yelp

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The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown of Los Angeles is the fourth hall of the Los Angeles Music Center and was designed by Frank Gehry. It opened on October 24, 2003. Bounded by Hope Street, Grand Avenue, and 1st and 2nd Streets, it seats 2,265 people and serves, among other purposes, as the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. The hall is in a vineyard seating configuration, similar to the Berliner Philharmonie by Hans Scharoun.

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Lillian Disney made an initial gift of $50 million in 1987 to build a performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and a tribute to Walt Disney’s devotion to the arts and to the city. The Frank Gehry-designed building opened on October 24, 2003. Both Gehry’s architecture and the acoustics of the concert hall, designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, have been praised, in contrast to its predecessor, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

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Self-guided audio tours and guided tours of Walt Disney Concert Hall are offered by the Music Center most days. All tours are an hour long and begin in the Grand Avenue Lobby of Walt Disney Concert Hall.

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The concert hall houses celebrity chef Joachim Splichal’s landmark fine dining restaurant Patina designed by Belzberg Architects. Patina serves French and California cuisine.

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WHAT: The Walt Disney Concert Hall
WHEN: Check schedule for shows
WHERE: 111 South Grand Avenue | Los Angeles, CA 90012

CONTACT INFO: (323) 850-2000

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | TwitterInstagram | YouTubeYelp

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The Watts Towers

January 19, 2015 — Leave a comment

The Watts Towers, Towers of Simon Rodia, or Nuestro Pueblo (“our town”), are within the Simon Rodia State Historic Park, in the Watts community of Los Angeles. They are a collection of 17 interconnected sculptural structures, the tallest reaching a height of over 99 feet.

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The towers and walls were designed and built by Italian immigrant construction worker and tile mason Sabato (“Simon”) Rodia (1879-1965), over a period of 33 years, from 1921 to 1954. The work is an example of outsider art, vernacular architecture and Italian-American naïve art.

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The towers were designated a National Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark in 1990. They are also a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, and on the National Register of Historic Places in Los Angeles.

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WHAT: The Watts Towers
WHEN: Open daily – except closed to the public Monday and Tuesday, but Towers Structure can still be viewed as the structure is outdoors.
WHERE: 1727 East 107th Street | Los Angeles, CA 90002

DETAILS: 

  • Tours: Thursday, Friday, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Saturday 10:30 am – 3:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm 
  • Admission: Adult $7, Seniors and Children 13 – 17 $3, Children 12 and under Free

CONTACT INFO: (213) 847-4646

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | YouTube | Yelp

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This imposing Colonial Revival on South Harvard Boulevard was built in either 1905 or 1910 for Dr. Wesley Beckett, a chairman of the trustees of the Los Angeles County Medical Association and member of the board of trustees at USC.

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The once-grand, six-bedroom, four-bath home is currently being used as a ‘standing set’ for filming as it is uninhabitable.

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In addition to its film jobs, the unoccupied residence has successfully filled the role of “haunted mansion” in an “interactive horror play” called Delusion: The Blood Rite.

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WHAT: The Historic Beckett Mansion
WHEN: Day viewing
WHERE: South Harvard Boulevard | Los Angeles, CA

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Stimson House

January 7, 2015 — 3 Comments

Stimson House is a Richardsonian Romanesque mansion near downtown Los Angeles, on Figueroa Street north of West Adams. Built in 1891, it was the home of lumber and banking millionaire Thomas Douglas Stimson. During Stimson’s lifetime, the house survived a dynamite attack by a blackmailer in 1896. After Stimson’s death, the house has been occupied by a brewer who reportedly stored wines and other spirits in the basement, a fraternity house that conducted noisy parties (causing consternation among occupants of neighboring mansions), as student housing for Mount St. Mary’s College, and as a convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

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When Stimson House was built in the 1890s, the Los Angeles Times described it as “the costliest and most beautiful private residence in Los Angeles,” a building “admired by all who see it.”

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More than a hundred years later, the Times said: “From the front, the 312-story house resembles a medieval castle, with brick chimneys standing guard like sentries along the roof and an ornate four-storycrenelated tower on the northeast corner, a noble rook from a massive chess board.” With its $150,000 cost, it was the most expensive house that had been built in Los Angeles at the time.

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From the day it was built, the 30-room house was a Los Angeles landmark. Neighbors and occupants have referred to it over the years as “the Castle” or the “Red Castle” due to its turret-top walls, four-story tower, and red-stone exterior.

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The Stimson House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and has also been named a Historic-Cultural Monument (# 212) by the City of Los Angeles. Material prepared for the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission’s review of the Stimson house in 1977 called it “architecturally unique in Los Angeles,” “the best example of this period of American architecture in Los Angeles” and “one of the most significant structures in the Los Angeles area.”

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WHAT: Stimson House
WHEN: Day time
WHERE: 2421 South Figueroa Street | Los Angeles, CA

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The Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery located in North Hollywood has a special section called the Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation that is the final resting place for a number of aviation pioneers — barnstormers, daredevils, and sundry architects of aviation. There is a memorial to Amelia Earhart and others, honoring their accomplishments.

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Valhalla was founded in 1923 by two Los Angeles financiers, John R. Osborne and C. C. Fitzpatrick. The Spanish Mission Revival entrance structure was designed by architect Kenneth McDonald Jr. For the decorative stone castings, McDonald hired Italian-born sculptor Federico A. Giorgi, who had created 30-foot-tall statues of elephants and lions for the 1917 epic film Intolerance and crafted the exterior of downtown’s Million Dollar Theater. The gateway to the new cemetery cost $140,000.

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The shrine, with a colorful tile dome and female figures stretching their arms to the heavens, originally was built as an impressive entrance to Valhalla Memorial Park cemetery. It was named for the palace of Odin, the Norse god of slain heroes.

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There are only a handful of celebrities buried here at ValhallaThe most notable is Oliver Hardy, half of the famous comedy team “Laurel & Hardy.” But you can also find Bea Benaderet (1906-1966) here, the actress who played the mother on TV’s “Petticoat Junction.” Cousin Pearl on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and did the voice of Betty Rubble on “The Flintstones.” Her wall crypt is in the Mausoleum of Hope, on the west side of the park. But if you look for her as Bea Benaderet, you probably won’t find her. Her marker reads “Twombly” in large letters at the top, with her name in smaller letters on the left side.

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WHAT: The Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery
WHEN: Open year round during the day 
WHERE: 10621 Victory Boulevard | North Hollywood, CA 91606

CONTACT: (818) 763-9121

SOCIAL MEDIA: FacebookYelp

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