i haven’t put up an architecture update in a couple of weeks… i’m sorry. mea culpa.
todays’ house is the derby house, built in glendale by lloyd wright, frank’s son. per usual i could only take pictures from the street, as the creepy architectural voyeur stalker that i happen to be.
i’m not sure i would want to live in one of lloyd or frank’s mayan spaceships, but i’m amazed and happy that they exist. they’re like an obscure architectural/design cul de sac that showed up in the 20th century and pretty quickly disappeared. an odd side bar of heavily ornamented modernism, usually looking like a bunker built by mayans or aztecs visiting from a very distant galaxy. but it’s hard to not be impressed and amazed by the inventiveness and the oddness and the uniqueness of these bunkers.
oh, also, completely unrelated, i’m having an art opening at project gallery on cahuenga, if you’d like to come by. the show will be up from this friday for about 5 or 6 weeks. it’s all pictures of the apocalypse and the post-apocalyptic cult of the innocents.
i’ve put some other pictures up here.
hopefully see you soon,
i have a lot of favorites when it comes to houses in l.a. having said that, this is one of my favorites. which shouldn’t demean the idea of a ‘favorite’. i mean, isn’t it better to be liberal with labeling things ‘favorites’ rather than stingy with approval and appreciation? or maybe i’m just lazy and i need a better word than favorite.
i want to find out more about this house, but here’s what i know:
- it was built in the 20’s.
- it’s almost completely hidden by vines and trees and plants and more vines.
- the rolling stones stayed here when they were finishing ‘exile on main street’.
- marilyn manson lived here for a while.
- lots of other people have lived here.
- it’s built around a very tall central spiral staircase.
- it probably has a storied (no pun intended) past, but i don’t know anything more than what i’ve written here.
i mean, i assume that in the 20’s and 30’s it was home to odd and debauched early movie stars, but that’s only an assumption on my part. an assumption with empirical support, as almost every house in hollywood has been home to odd and debauched movie stars (including my own, thank you very much).
also i’m continually amazed that overgrown estates like this are literally 3 minutes from grimy crumbly hollywood. all of the odd and interesting stuff in l.a is, to a large extent, hidden.
just got back from holiday travels and i decided to take some pictures of one of my favorite scary crumbly hotels in hollywood. and that’s saying something, as there really are countless scary and crumbly motels in hollywood.
what i don’t understand about this hotel is how the giant wall and sign are sort of reminiscent of a time when the future was clearly to be found in either outer space or science fiction. but the buildings inside look sort of like norman bates’ mom’s final resting place in ‘psycho’.
i don’t know if it has any great architectural merit or significance, but i love it for it’s off-putting strangeness. and i don’t know if they actually have guests, as i didn’t see much evidence of anyone coming or going while i was being a creepy architecture voyeur.
in other news: i hope you had a wonderful holiday(s), regardless of whatever holidays you chose or chose not to celebrate. and if you’re somewhere egregiously cold i hope you don’t resent those of us in southern california who are suffering through an exceedingly warm and sunny winter.
we suffer with dignity and restraint.
hi from nyc.
i was walking around thinking, to myself, ‘hm, what should i take pictures of? i mean, in terms of buildings. for people to see.’ and then i thought, self-involvedly, ‘why not take pictures of my apartment and studio?’ so i did. and here they are. well, some of them.
first, some history:
i’ve been in this building in little italy since 1992 (i’ve been on this block since 1990…). in 1995 i bought a small storage space in the building and hired an architect named nick durrie to design and build a home and studio for me. here were the issues:
- i didn’t have much money
- it had no skylights or plumbing
- nick didn’t have anywhere to live
so nick kind of designed and built the space while he was living in it as a construction site. and it’s very idiosyncratic and unique.
we had to remove a huge, beautiful beam from the ceiling, so he chopped it up and turned it into the stairs/ladder. we needed kitchen lights, so we went to chinatown and bought 2 lampshades for $10. we needed another ladder, so we walked to bond st and bought a ladder for $5 from a salvage place. and etc.
it was all done sort of spontaneously and inexpensively, but it turned out beautifully and it’s still where i stay when i’m in nyc (and it’s where i lived from 1995-2010). and it’s where i wrote and recorded ‘play’ and ‘18’ and ‘hotel’ and ‘last night’ and ‘wait for me’
and ‘destroyed’. so, as you might imagine, it’s a very special place for me. and even though i live in l.a now, this is still (like a horcrux), where a huge part of me resides.
p.s-i’m also including a photo of the new museum, as it currently has a boat hanging on it’s front and it’s across the street from me.
p.s-these’re not my finest photos, as my nice camera is in l.a..
p.p.s-i have really good security on the apartment, so don’t go getting any fancy ideas about breaking in when i’m not here…
i was in a neighborhood in studio city yesterday and i found this little beautiful gem of a mid century house. and i like lists, so here’s a list of why i’m including it in my arbitrary and random architectural blog.
- i love that it’s basically a mid century tree house.
- it’s literally about 300 yards from some of the least inspiring urban architecture in l.a, reminding me that there’s something hidden in plain sight almost everywhere in l.a.
- see ‘1’. i mean, it’s a tree house.
- i think ‘1’ and ‘2’ pretty much cover the reasons why it’s in/on/at my arbitrary blog.
- but i like lists so i’ll include a few more list items.
- like this one, ‘6’.
sorry for wasting your time. ok thanks. and it’s raining in l.a, which is great.
i think it’s the second time so far in 2013 that it’s rained in l.a. so, thank you rain gods.
today i’m putting up pictures of one of the most famous and beloved modern houses in l.a, the lovell house.
i’m not quite sure what to say about it, as it’s a legendary house and acres of accolades have been, justifiably, heaped on it over the years. so what i can say, in my simplistic way, is that it’s amazing and perfect. see, that’s high brow architecture criticism.
ok, it also fits perfectly and idiosyncratically in it’s environment, it probably is bright and filled with light (remember: i’m a creepy architecture stalker and i generally take pictures of things from the street), and it employed building techniques that hitherto hadn’t been used in domestic/residential architecture.
oh, and it was in the movie ‘beginners’, which is one of my favorite movies of the last 10 years.
i love how it sits as a collection of rectilinear boxes and lines in the middle of an overgrown l.a griffith park environment. i’m not sure who lives here, but they’re lucky.
i’m trying to figure out, is a dam a building?
i mean, it’s built, and it can hold people both on and in it, so i guess that makes it a building? which in turn makes it architecture?
ok, great. because this dam (conveniently hidden in the middle of hollywood) is beautiful, whether it’s architecture or engineering or a happy combination of the two (i mean, i guess all buildings are a combination of architecture and engineering).
according to the fancy plaque on this fancy dam it was built in the 20’s by the same person who built another dam that had previously fallen down. so, to prevent this dam from falling down they put a few million tons of earth on it’s south face, thus reducing it’s south face from a few hundred feet tall to about 50 feet tall. and thus giving hollywood even more odd parkland (apparently there are a couple of juvenile mountain lions co-habitating in the park created at the base of this once tall dam).
the dam itself is just the right combination of utilitarian and ornamental, looking at times like a giant water fortress and at times like an art deco wall decorated with bears heads (see the picture).
i’m hesitant to tell you where the dam is, as even though it’s open to the public it’s never crowded.so, if you find it, or if you already know about: great. but otherwise you can pretend that it’s some art deco brigadoon-esque fortress that only shows up once every 40 years.
oh, and i hope you had a nice weekend.
p.s-just for fun i did some old timey processing to one of the pictures so we can all pretend it’s 1927 and we’re working for the wpa.
now that my schedule has calmed down a little bit i’ve been able to start doing the ‘i live in l.a but i’m still a tourist’ things that i’ve wanted to do for a while now.
today my ‘i live in l.a but i’m still a tourist' agenda involved going to the architecture and design museum on wilshire to see the 'unbuilt los angeles' exhibit. it's a remarkable exhibit for a lot of reasons.
one of those reasons is, of course, that a lot of what had been planned for l.a was idealistic and kind of random and, in some cases, deeply flawed (like the idea of extending the 10 freeway out into the ocean in front of santa monica and malibu). but it’s also remarkable, and sad, in that a lot of the grand and amazing and inspired designs and plans that would’ve made l.a a much better place (like, say, more municipal parks and an amazing subway system) were killed off before they could even be fully considered (the frederick law olmstead plan for an amazing inter-connected urban park system hadn’t even been seen publicly after the chamber of commerce killed it off almost a century ago).
the third thing that makes it remarkable is that some of these plans and buildings could still be fairly easily built and realized.
the one that really caught my eye was john lauthner’s proposed griffith park nature center building. to wit:
- the a&d museum have all the plans (including soils reports..)
- the land is currently empty
- it’s not a very expensive project
so maybe we could all rally together to get the lautner griffith park nature center built because:
- it’s great architecture
- john lautner is now rightfully seen as the patron saint of l.a architecture and this would be a fitting tribute to him
- it could remind people that it’s still possible to design and build great public buildings
just a thought. but a practicable thought. anyway, here’s hoping.