• Touring Downtown Los Angeles
    October 15, 2013
    Touring downtown Los Angeles on a beautiful fall day – how I love to tour a city! I should enjoy the wonderful architecture of our great city more often. The view from Pershing Square of the Central Library tower, the gas company tower, the Biltmore Hotel and California Plaza tower; Angel’s Flight (juxtaposed with modern skyscrapers); intricate ironwork of the Bradbury building interior; LEED Silver California Department of Transportation; LA Police Department building with the image from across the street of LA City Hall in the mirrored glass; LA Times up the street from Disney Concert Hall; the new Broad Art Museum under construction.

  • Stahl House Experience
    July 29, 2013
      Visiting the Stahl house was a wonderful experience and a lasting memory. Not often open to the public, tours were offered as part of the exhibit about the mid-century growth of LA called “Overdrive, LA Constructs the Future” at the Getty Center. I found myself standing in the same space as the iconic photograph by Jules Shulman, with the two seated women looking out over the twinkling evening lights of LA in the 1960’s. The house is small and L-shaped with all spaces facing the pool. “God is in the Details” here with materials coming together in simple and elegant ways. The tour was limited to 10 people and so we were all able to experience the house peacefully. Mark Stahl, who grew up in the house, was the host for the two hours I spent there, wandering through the rooms and enjoying the fantastic view of Los Angeles. I even got some swag – a Stahl house mug!  

  • Monograph Tour – Ehrlich
    June 4, 2013
    For years, I’d seen several of these homes published. And then, there I was, standing at the treed entrance to the iconic Schulman House in Brentwood. Built in the early 90’s and looking very much in that era, there were huge walls of over-scaled sliding glass doors, and corner glass at windows nodding to modernism. The Japanese influence was evident in the choices of materials and detailing, and especially with the horizontal mullions and translucent screens. No Corten Steel happening yet! My favorite home of the day was the Carrillo Residence in Pacific Palisades, hands down. Sophisticated, simple in plan diagram, and peaceful even with people touring through it. One could look from the front gate of the property through a glass living room, all the way to the back to the infinity pool and canyon views. The use of buff colored limestone and ceramic tiles was consistent throughout. Huge walls of limestone, individual pieces staggered and irregular in size, worked as a well thought out pattern, wrapping around the walls from exterior to interior – and no grout! Cameras were not allowed in any of the houses except Ehrlichs own home. The picture shown is looking from the back building towards the main house, where so many beautiful materials all meet gracefully – and of course there’s Corten Steel.

  • Facade, West Hollywood
    January 17, 2013
        Wow, this interesting facade caught my eye as I drove in West Hollywood the other day. What a creative approach to the expression of the solids and voids of a facade. Form or function, or both? White perforated metal screens that resemble spiderwebs (or Hollywood lights, depending on your mindset) cover the fixed windows at the plane of the facade. Alternately, these screens are extended outward and cover the entire band of operable and inoperable windows, over two stories in one location on the top floor. These provide better solar control for the lucky inhabitants. What is it like to look out past these irregular, dynamic shapes? I would think it might be somewhat annoying, maybe a wide line across an open view. A significant line item in the budget, these custom screens made the building noteworthy. Later, I came across some information on this building and found that it is affordable housing over retail, by Tighe Architecture. They call the metal facade a “five story organic garden lattice.” They do very high quality design work so I’m not surprised that I noticed it.

  • Bubeshko Apts
    November 18, 2012
    Shindler’s Bubeshko Apartments in Silverlake are rarely open to tours so it was very exciting to see them on this LA/AIA Modernist Contemporary tour. We were able to see two of the five units, part of this “Greek hillside” complex Shindler built for mother and daughter clients in the late 1930’s. They had all the wonderful qualities of the architecture of that era including multipurpose open plan, large expanses of glass bringing in natural light, cross ventilation and clerestory lighting, decorative use of cinder blocks, and amazing finish plywood details, to name a few. As I was there, I imagined that these buildings were once remotely located on a hill, and that the architectural ideas were original and (ground breaking) at the time, wow! One of the units we saw was 3 bedrooms and was renting for a whopping $3000/month, which tells you how much people are willing to pay for great design and the cache of Silverlake. I had never really explored Silverlake until this day when I took some time after the tour to drive around, and get coffee at a local café. It’s a beautiful, hilly place with dramatic views but so compact and dense with narrow, winding streets. There is some great modern architecture happening there!    

  • Unfrozen Music, Architects in Concert
    October 13, 2012
    I thoroughly enjoyed the fourth annual Unfrozen Music, Architects in Concert event this week. They were an impressive group of talented and creative people playing everything from Mozart to Radiohead. I marvel at how they find the time to work in architecture and still keep their instrument up to that level of practice. The MC did a Q&A after each performance – he asked everyone about how architecture influenced their music, and about their work. There was only one female musician/architect, a vocalist who sang great rock and blues, but he only asked her about her exotic, unusual name and not about her work, which bothered me. The last act was an architect who played the harmonica, and who was also the project Architect for the new renovation of Pauley Pavilion at UCLA, opening in November. The concert took place in the auditorium at the Santa Monica Library, which is a wonderful space – relaxed and intimate, and part of a beautifully detailed public library building.  

  • Entenza Case Study House - Pacific Palisades mid-century modern residenceTouring John Entenza’s Case Study House in Pacific Palisades
    September 23, 2012
    I have driven by this wonderful house many, many times, and finally got a chance to go in on a recent LA/AIA tour! It is a fabulous house from the 1930’s Case Study Program, which was renovated in 1998, and open to the public for the first time in decades. It is only 850 SF and so compact, they only allowed 25 people to enter at once and it felt crowded! Every inch is planned and used well, and I loved the clean, crisp lines of modernism. Big windows brought nature inside and looking out from the roof deck, I tried to imagine how the house would have felt in the 1930’s when it was standing all alone on the Palisades bluffs.