23 July 2011

The Kronish house by Richard Neutra in Beverly Hills threatened by demolition – for sale at $13.995M

For the first time in 30 years, this Richard Neutra Beverly Hills home has been offered for sale. In essence, it was listed as a tear-down in April for $13.995 million, with no real photos and no mention of the name Neutra. Those details were added a few weeks later.

Named for its original owner, Herbert Kronish, and built in 1954, the one-story house sits at the end of a 250-foot-long driveway on a 2-acre, flag-shaped lot with mature trees and a swimming pool.

With 6,891 square feet of living space, six bedrooms and 5 1/2 bathrooms, the contemporary home is the Modernist architect’s largest in Southern California, according to his son, Dion Neutra. Walls of glass open to a terrace that steps down to the pool.

Dion Neutra, who runs Neutra Architects, says that the owners have refused to let anyone in to photograph the house and that he's hoping any plans for demolition can be stopped. Beverly Hills doesn't have strong preservation laws and has let other mid-century houses by big names bite the dust.

Eyewitness reports from commenters say the house is in bad shape, but it is large (6,891 square feet) and it does have a pool. Either way, a buyer will end up with a two acre flag lot off Sunset and an occasional next door neighbor named Madonna.

Commenting on the fact that a demolition permit has been applied for but not yet granted – or so it seems –  blogger Barbara Lamprecht writes

“The proposed demolition of any work anywhere by a master architect is automatically discretionary. Period.”

Please email me if you are interested in preserving this important property.


15 July 2011

A Day of Architecture

Update: 2012 dates are June 23 and 24, 2012. The main event site has not been updated yet... let me know if you need help translating ;-)

For the 17th year in a row (!), in June Germany celebrated a “Day of Architecture” throughout the whole country, with 1668 open-house-projects in nearly every state. Organized by the Architekten-Kammern (Architect Chambers, the German equivalents to state AIA chapters), the focus this year was on modern and contemporary residential projects, which generated intense interest from a curious public.

The 2011 event, under the motto “Better Living. With Architects” (which probably did not mean to imply that you necessarily live better if you share your bed with an architect), tackled subjects such as new forms of living, demographic changes, new use-concepts and building without barriers for handicapped residents.

The “Day of Architecture” – actually whole a weekend, always the last one in June – is such a success that it has become a permanent item in the annual calendar of every architecture-crazed fan as well as the professionals (except this writer, who only learned about in late June). US-style “open houses” are otherwise unknown in Germany, but on this weekend, builders, owners and architects fling open their doors to let the public romp through their new homes, renovated buildings and rehabed interiors.

A selection of interesting projects from all states in Germany can be seen here (use the arrows next to “Bildauswahl” to scroll through the photos on that page; click on a photo to read a brief description in German; click on the link under the word “Projekt” to get a detailed description).

Some of the featured projects (below not linked):

01 July 2011

Have a Great Independence Weekend!

A mid-century-modern summer pool scene, Strümp/Germany 1958. Photo © G.Kaiser