Hometown architectural hero Gregory Ain apprenticed with Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra, and went on to have a huge impact on Modernist housing for the masses through projects like his Mar Vista tract, in which this 1,450 square foot dwelling can be found. The coolest feature of this residence is definitely the original "sliding and folding doors" that somehow allow for the number of bedrooms inside to go up to three or down to one.
In addition to a flexible room count, the house sports polished concrete flooring, clerestory windows, and a redesigned kitchen with Marmol Radziner walnut cabinets. A detached garage has been converted into living space and could be used as an office. Because of its historical significance, this place also qualifies for Mills Act tax breaks. Ain, who designed with the working class in mind, might be shocked to learn that this 1948 tract house is asking $1.295 million.
Briefly forgotten, but by no means gone, Memphis—the 1980s phenomenon that shook the design world to its foundations—is creeping back into the mainstream. At this year's Salone del Mobile, signs of its re-emergence were widespread. Original Memphis, which peaked from 1981 to 1987, illustrates the hallmarks of postmodern '80s design: strong geometric motifs, mixed materials often including laminate, clashing and saturated colors, and a repudiation of anything streamlined and tasteful—a veritable "shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher-Price."
From young designers issuing riffs on Memphis furniture to the reissued 1980s classics themselves, here's what we saw in Milan (also known as the city that gave birth to the movement).
The American Horror Story house (aka the Rosenheim Mansion) finally sold in March after years on the market
The newest report out from Douglas Elliman Real Estate paints an encouraging picture of the single-family and condo market, at least as far as sales in the first three months of 2015 are concerned. Like Elliman's previous report, this overview of "Greater LA" looks at neighborhoods from the coast (Malibu, Playa del Rey) to Northeast LA, roping in Downtown, the Westside, and ritzy neighborhoods like Brentwood and Malibu. (It leaves out South LA.) This time, the numbers seem to indicate that LA's market could be picking up steam, as sales increase to a new record for this time of year.
Median housing prices have been rising on a year-over-year basis since the summer of 2012 (11 quarters in a row), the report says, and that trend's continued in the first quarter of 2015. The greater LA median sales price increased to $880,000—up 7.7 percent from $817,000 in the first quarter of 2014. In Downtown, the median sales price for condos ($560,000) was up 8.9 percent from the first quarter of the previous year. Houses in some ritzy neighborhoods saw a decline in the median price (Beverly Hills, BHPO), but in others, like Brentwood, that number moved up. Brentwood's single-family home prices rose 10.7 percent, up to $2.8 million.
Sales in LA increased 9.5 percent from the same period in the previous year to 2,173, which is a nine-year high for the first quarter and a big change from formerly slumpy conditions. Report preparer and appraiser Jonathan Miller notes the fact that the number of sales for the overall market were up year-over-year for the first time since the third quarter of 2013, suggests that there's "broader improvement" in housing sales, not just isolated gains in the luxury sector, as we'd previously seen. Since housing prices have been going up for a long time, Miller says that the the number of sales is probably a better indicator of how the overall market is doing, and the uptick in sales is heartening.
Working for the LAPD is probably not too fun for horses. First of all, it's work; work sucks. Police horses are mostly urban professionals, and they spend a lot of time in the city, among crowds of people, not frolicking in a meadow somewhere or roughing it on trails like other horses. Now, they have to deal with jerk-offs writing on their butts. According to a release from the LAPD, a stealthy but stupid tagger "marked the hind-quarters" of a well-known Venice Beach police horse named Charlie on Tuesday. The silver graffiti was washed off of Charlie later that night, but it's pretty wild that no one noticed the vandalism taking place in time to stop it. The LAPD is actively investigating incident.
· LAPD Horse "Tagged" at Venice Beach [LAPD]
· LAPD Riding Horses Around Downtown to Prevent Loitering [Curbed LA]
The Fairfax two-bedroom where Kurt Cobain supposedly holed-up with Courtney Love from 1991 to 1992 and wrote songs for In Utero is now available on Airbnb. Considering that the famed punk and grunge venue in the Arts District where Nirvana sometimes played is now a yoga studio, becoming a short-term rental isn't a totally terrible fate for this tiny piece of rock history. Hypebeast says that the unit's current tenant didn't learn about the apartment's Cobain connection until after he signed his lease in 2011. For some reason, the link to the Nirvana signer was turning people off to the place.
This apartment, if it's truly the one where Kurt and Courtney lived for those years, doesn't mark a great period in Cobain's life. Sure, Love was pregnant with their daughter, Frances, and Nirvana's Nevermind album was doing phenomenally well, but Cobain came to LA and hid in his home because he wanted to escape from the fame and pressure that came along with his band's success. A 2004 LA Times article says that the unit on Spaulding Avenue was a sanctuary where Kurt could hide away from touring and "million-dollar deals," and instead spend his time regularly eating at Canter's and "[retreating] to painting and narcotics." The apartment was a wreck while Cobain lived there, as an old photo of him in the bedroom illustrates.
Maybe the unit's unpopularity with possible tenants had less to do with what happened when Kurt was here and more to do with the pilgrims who return to the apartment at irregular intervals to check in on the place. As the current tenant tells Vulture, "Once every 60 days or so, I'll get a weird, older gentleman, a rocker-type dude, sort of a burnout, knocking on the door, saying, 'Do you know what used to happen here?'"
Now, it doesn't look like an art studio or a drug den; it just looks like a pretty average apartment. (Fancy deer head mounted over the fireplace? Check.) The listing is technically not for the entire place, just the bedroom that Kurt and Courtney slept in, but Nirvana fans and would-be guests should probably act fast on making reservations here. Yesterday, LAist says, the rates here started at $150 a night. Now, the nightly price is $290.
Haters who criticized Carson's proposed NFL stadium on purely aesthetic terms will be happy to hear that as the plan moves forward (it was just approved by Carson's City Council), it's upping its style game. The two-team football venue intended to house the Chargers and the Raiders is getting a slick and very exciting new redesign that includes a more airy, open layout and a tower over 100 feet tall that, on occasion, will shoot lightning bolts, reports the LA Times.
The latest renderings for the joint football venue come from Manica Architecture. Their version of the stadium is intended to recall the LA Coliseum, but was also inspired by the fluid movement of sports cars (that rendering with a Porsche in the foreground really drives this connection home). The updated plans show that the oval-shaped, roofless stadium will have a "contiguous exterior" with a large opening at its base. The seating would be arranged in a U around that gap, which the architects believe will "help surround the field with noise." Seating colors are still being decided, but it's possible that they'll be clear so they can "reflect the color of lights shining on them."
The most exciting feature of the updated Carson design is obviously its 115 to 120-foot-tall tower, which will be encased in glass, topped with a cauldron, and transformed depending on which team is playing. When the Chargers are on the field, lightning bolts will zap around inside the tower's glass enclosure. When the Chargers score a touchdown, lightning will shoot out of the top of the tower. When the Raiders are having a home game, the plan is for the cauldron to fill with fire, like the Olympic flame, as a nod to the late Raiders owner/manager Al Davis. (Unfortunately, "The plan would not call for the flame to burst up from the tower in the event of a Raiders touchdown," which just seems unfair.) If the Carson stadium ever hosted a Super Bowl, the plan is to turn the tower into an enormous Lombardi Trophy.
The designs should be shown to team owners at NFL meetings next month; the competing Inglewood stadium should be making a presentation at those same meetings. Parties involved in the Carson plan (Carson, the Chargers, the owners of the stadium site) are still negotiating many of the details of the stadium, like where to find 16,000 more parking spaces.
The unstoppable Arts District continues to spill over into the staunchly industrial space beyond the AD's traditional southern border of Seventh Street. The action (for now) seems to be centered around Santa Fe Avenue; first, the old Ford Factory was slated to become creative offices, then the musician-displacingSoHo House pushed further south and was followed by a mystery project right next door. Now, says the Downtown News, there's another newcomer south of the future SoHo House, bringing 53 live/work units to a pair of old brick buildings at Santa Fe and Eighth Street.
The project—called Arthouse because it's hoped artists will move in—will take over the one three-story and one four-story building, together measuring 94,000 square feet. Like a lot of the structures in the Arts District, the development's residences will have open floor plans. At street level, the complex will also have three units of commercial space (13,000 square feet total) that are probably going to end up rented by restaurants or galleries.
In keeping with the historic architecture of the surrounding neighborhood and dominant trends, developer Core Development Group (CDG) will maintain much of the existing, 100-year-old structure. "New construction is not what people in this area crave," says Philip Rahimzadeh of CDG. Leasing at Arthouse could begin as early as the end of summer.
· Live/Work Units Coming to Santa Fe Avenue [DN]
The recently restored 1929 Wilshire Boulevard Temple is looking to build a neighboring structure to house special events for its congregation and the public, and they've asked starchitect Rem Koolhaas to submit a detailed design proposal. The New York Times reports that the Pritzker-Prize-winning architect is working on "a dynamic, trapezoidal five-story building" that would rise next door to the synagogue. Inside, the new center would contain offices as well a large, first-floor banquet hall dotted with windows arranged to form "an intricate, Moroccan-inspired pattern," in a nod to the temple's "quasi-Moorish" style. Update 4:30: An earlier version of this post gave the impression Koolhaas had already been selected for the project. We've since updated the post to reflect that he has not.
Atop the new Koolhaas building, there would be a rooftop level at the same height as the temple's dome. (Prediction: this will be a popular Instagram spot.) The structure would serve as "an inspiring gathering place for the many different communities in our neighborhood, which may well be the most ethnically diverse neighborhood west of Brooklyn," the leader of the congregation at the temple tells the NYT. There is no explicit timeline for the project at this point.
The Wilshire Boulevard Temple reopened in 2013 after being closed for two years of renovations; the project was overseen by architect Brenda Levin. Aside from being architecturally significant to the neighborhood, the historic synagogue has a rich Hollywood history. Movie producer Louis B. Mayer gave stained-glass windows to the temple, and the Warner Brothers commissioned a mural for the interior. The seating was even arranged as though the place of worship were a movie theater; there's no central aisle through the pews as an effort to "preserve the best seats in the house."