Like many of you, I've been following the interminable construction of the two rival mansions on Sunset Boulevard between Alpine and Rexford in Beverly Hills. They built the Empire State Building in 13 months (also in a Depression). What gives?
In poking around about the westernmost of these behemoths, the Wehba house, I found this curious press release from SCI-Arc, Downtown L.A's (literally) cutting-edge architecture school:
If there are two words I never imagined seeing in the same sentence, it's "SCI-Arc" and "Versailles." SCI-Arc alums are better noted for their contributions to a makeshift architecture of last resort, like these two structures, by Jennifer Siegal and Armen Hogtanian, respectively:
The latter of these two, I was happy to discover, was slapped with an "AIA citation" . . . oh, wait, I guess that's good thing?
Although his work on Sunset Boulevard has far more in common with the American Beaux Arts tradition of McKim, Mead and White than it does with Versailles, Brian Biglin has returned to the real roots of architecture with the Wehba house.
And I notice from his bio, that he eschews any mention of his SCI-Arc past. Don't blame him much.