Category Archives: Endangered buildings

Crippled Children’s Building Threatened with Demolition

Photo by Mark Picascio
Photo by Mark Picascio

AbilityFirst, the current owner of the Lautner-designed Crippled Children’s Center in Woodland Hills, along with the potential buyer, Oakmont Senior Living, have applied for a demolition permit for the center building.  Although SurveyLA identified the building as a potential historical resource eligible for the California Register and for local listing, the project was not referred to the appropriate office (Office of Historic Resources) within the LA Planning Department. The Planning Department, unaware of its significance, prepared a Mitigated Negative Declaration, a determination that the demolition would not be significant.

Please join the Los Angeles Conservancy and The John Lautner Foundation in asking that the Mitigated Negative Declaration be denied and that an Environmental Impact Report be prepared instead, in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

photo by Mark Picascio
photo by Mark Picascio

Go to the Conservancy’s website for full details and information on what to emphasize in your letter to the City Planning Department. Time is limited: please send your email to the project planner,  Jordann Turner, by May 27, 2014.

Shusett Demolition Going Forward

The owners of the Shusett residence in Beverly Hills have decided to go forward with the demolition of the house. The John Lautner Foundation and others have tried to work with them to find other solutions but were not successful.

For educational purposes the Foundation would love to have photographs and videotape of the demolition. Anyone interested in filming or photographing should stay on public property -either on Monte Leon Lane or Sunset Blvd (through the hedge). The address is 9340 Monte Leon Lane in Beverly Hills. Please let us know if you plan to do any photographing and if you can donate some of your footage to the Foundation (comments (at) johnlautner (dot) org).

L.A. Times Covers Imminent Shusett Demo

The Los Angeles Times Arts & Culture section is featuring a story on the proposed Shusett demolition Saturday, August 21, 2010. The writer appears to position the house as a “minor work” because it is not well-known. The fact that the house has undergone extensive remodeling over the years, not to the benefit of the initial design concept, is not mentioned.

Read the article.

Shusett demolition may begin tomorrow

exterior of Shusett residence

John Lautner’s Shusett residence in Beverly Hills is scheduled to be demolished, possibly starting tomorrow, August 18.

The Shusett residence, built in 1951, and the Harvey House, 1950 (owned by Kelly Lynch and Mitch Glazer)  are the first two major commissions that John Lautner received, after several years of designing small houses. The Shusett residence was built to curve around a major tree, which still exists. The original plans were drawn by Louis Weihle, who was in Lautner’s office at the time and who is presently on the JLF Advisory Board. Although it has been remodeled extensively over the years, the basic structure still exists and could be restored to its previous glory by the right owners.

The current owners have applied for a demolition permit, however, which is now posted at the house. The sign says the demolition is to begin tomorrow, August 18, 2010. The Beverly Hills Building Department says that the permit has not yet been issued, however. Some minor details need to be taken care of first.

The John Lautner Foundation and the Los Angeles Conservancy have been in touch with the owners for several months, trying to convince them to either sell (there is a potential buyer) or to restore the house. Various Lautner home owners have agreed to speak with the present owners, show them their houses and talk to them about the pros and cons of restoration.

The property is at 9340 Monte Leon Lane in Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills does not have regulations to preserve significant buildings.

Photographs by Tycho Saariste

Gantvoort house potentially in danger

The 1947 Gantvoort house in La Canada Flintridge, CA is for sale. Its current selling price of $1,650,000 is a major bargain for such a well-maintained Lautner house in nearly original condition.  The house sits on just under an acre of land, which is heavily landscaped and includes walkways to enjoy the outdoors.

From Gantvoort Residence

The residence was built in 1947 for Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Gantvoort. Mr. Gantvoort was a retired Dutch plantation owner from Java. He acted as contractor on the job, and the Gantvoorts lived in the house until 2004. It has had two owners since.

The house was designed to be built economically, featuring a prefabricated independent roof frame built of steel trusses sitting on sloped steel columns. The residence has been featured in several books on Lautner.

Because of its modest size (1801 SF),  the large size of the lot, and the bargain pricing, some potential buyers are looking at the property as a tear-down.

If you are interested in seeing the house, contact the realtor through this listing.

Goldstein office finds a home

Goldstein Office:

Update: The Goldstein office has been accepted by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It will be installed as a working office in LACMA West, the historic May Co. building.

Read below for the history. Start at the bottom.

view application for monument status

photographs by Alan Weinstein, arcaid

UPDATE: Message from the Vice-President of the JLF

The John Lautner Foundation received wonderful news just prior to Thanksgiving. The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission voted unanimously to extend Historic-Cultural Monument status to the Goldstein Office, effectively saving it from imminent destruction. In the final hearing, with considerable time devoted to the pros and cons of preserving this rare office space in a high-rise, the Commission (after voting) requested James Goldstein to stand and be acknowledged for commissioning John Lautner and building the office.

photograph of interior
Our efforts to preserve the Goldstein Office, though quite involved and complex, were fruitful. The Lautner Foundation involved the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission by submitting for Monument status, which will protect a threatened cultural monument for up to one year, after which the owner of the building can have the issue re-addressed. While this approach to preserving buildings or space buys time, it needs support not only from the Commission but finally from the City Council, especially the Councilmember whose district it is in.We did not have this needed support due to the unique nature of this Lautner project: its being an interior office space introduced new issues and hurdles for its preservation. So when the Foundation’s proposal of incorporating the office intact into the redesign of the building’s 20th floor for a single tenant was rejected by the new tenant and the building owner, an intense period of rethinking and negotiation ensued.

The building owner at 10100 Santa Monica Boulevard ultimately proposed sponsoring the careful dismantling of the 850 square foot office suite and storing it safely until next May. We have begun the process of finding a new location for the office, hopefully where the public can readily visit this unique office environment and be exposed to John Lautner’s genius.

The disassembly and restoration concept was embodied in the Commission’s decision, which now moves on for final adoption by the Los Angeles City Council.

Although we do not foresee any problems with the Council’s adoption of Historic-Cultural status, we encourage your attendance and support. It will be an exciting moment at Wednesday’s meeting when the Council votes on the motion to include the Goldstein office on the City’s Historic-Cultural Monuments list. With the Goldstein Office a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, additional clout accrues to our project of finding a new home for it.

Here are the times and locations for the final hearings next week:

1. Hearing at PLUM (Planning Land Use Management committee.)
December 13th, Tuesday 1:00pm
Room 350, City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles.

2. Hearing at Los Angeles City Council
December 14th,
Wednesday 10:00am
Room 340, City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles.

The Foundation would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved in the effort to preserve the Goldstein Office. We direct special thanks to James Goldstein who commissioned and built this great architectural work which has now been saved from being destroyed.

We look forward to seeing some of you at the upcoming hearings.

Thank you for your past and future support.

Best regards,

Christopher Carr
Vice President


Date: September 8, 2005
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Christopher Carr (323) 668-2225

City of Los Angeles Cultural-Heritage Commission takes Architect John Lautner’s Goldstein Office in Century City under consideration for City Cultural-Heritage Monument status at Wednesday, September 7, 2005 Hearing.

The 850 square foot office space John Lautner designed for James Goldstein on the 20th Floor of the 10100 Santa Monica Blvd. building is the only remaining pristine commercial work designed by Lautner. The Commission will tour the site and make a final decision regarding monument status in October.

Goldstein’s lease expires at the end of September, and the law firm of Loeb & Loeb plans to gut the entire floor in preparing to add the floor to their existing three floors within the building. The challenge is for Loeb & Loeb and the building owner to incorporate the culturally significant space as a conference room on that floor.

It is essential to preserve the work of one of America’s great architects, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, who, using Wright’s principals of organic architecture, established his own powerful expressive architecture integrating nature, space, according to Duncan Nicholson, spokesperson for The John Lautner Foundation.

Author Michael Webb, after visiting the office, said, “I know and love the best of Lautner’s architecture and this is a signature work in impeccable condition. The rectangular box is completely transformed by a folded roof plane of wood, and folded wall planes of brushed copper, glass and black slate. It’s a unique habitable sculpture.”

The John Lautner Foundation, in filing the application for city Cultural-Heritage Monument status, will continue to try to educate the new tenant and building owners of the importance of keeping intact this work of John Lautner’s, a masterpiece of the 20th Century, rather then destroying it.