Sunday, June 27, 2010

Up in the Air

Aerial photographs tell us more about ourselves . . . alas.

These amazing images, from chopper and fixed-wing photographer, condense and intensify everything we love, rejoice in, suspect, and fear about Los Angeles.

Empire of the Senseless: Inland Empire sprawl.

Black Friday: Ontario Mills Mall on the day after Thanksgiving.

Condon Canyon: Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Château Margaux redux

I had a nightmare last night.

Château Margaux, Bordeaux (Guy-Louis Combes, 1812).

In my unsettling cauchemar, the owners of Bordeaux's Château Margaux, surely one of the world's most beautiful private residences, decided to California-ize it into a suburban spec house worthy of Sylmar.

Château Margaux, Bordeaux, redux.

The choice of affordable, energy-efficient and easy-to-clean vinyl windows is entirely sensible, while the sliding patio doors on the portico properly blur—Southern California fashion—the boundary between indoors and outside.

The garage doors
undoubtedly from Southern California's overly eager Mesa Garage Doors, whose relentless advertisements pollute my drive-time radio daily—are an improvement that definitely ups the curb appeal of this limestone Empire mansion.

Note to self: Stop eating sardines before bedtime.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Crime of the Week

Oh, the inhumanity!

833 S. Orange Grove Ave.

While trolling the MLS for multi-family buildings (as in duplexes, as in "to live in"), I ran across this monstrous piece of joke-i-tecture, rearing its ugly head somewhere just off Fairfax in Miracle Mile.


The first feature mentioned in the MLS listing is "NO RENT CONTROL" (the crime was perpetrated in 1988, a decade after the 1978 rent control revision), as if its being a "bread and butter investment property that will bring you a long term & stable income" is the main attraction.

A perversion in stucco.

For me, the only possible inducement for buying this perversion in stucco would be to raze it post-haste. Perhaps then it could be replaced with a duplex of the type I was originally looking for when I ran across it, like this charming one at 423 S. Bedford in Beverly Hills:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hablinski - Manion

Talented historicizing architects William Hablinski and Richard Manion have split their former firm, Hablinski + Manion, into two separate architecture practices: William Hablinski and Richard Manion. Does the fact that they still share the same web designer mean the divorce was amicable? One hopes so. In any case, I have adjusted my links to these two masters on the right.

My friend Stacie Stukin is working with Manion to write a monograph on his work that will appear in 2011. Until then, she just published a story in the current issue of California Homes that can serve a preview of the book.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mansard madness

This unfortunate Westside structure (a private house? detox center?) was snapped by my architect/designer friend Bobolini of Fahrenheit Studios and submitted as Exhibit A in the posthumous trial of one François Mansart (1598–1666) for crimes and misdemeanors perpetrated against the Los Angeles urban landscape.

The perp is described as French, with a mustache, flowing hair, a black cape, and a devil-may-care attitude.

François Mansart (1598–1666)