Sunday, October 17, 2010

A big hole in Pasadena

Next year, repertory theater troupe A Noise Within (the name is from a stage direction in Hamlet) will be moving out of the old Masonic temple on Glendale's Brand Boulevard that has served as its home for the past 19 seasons.

Construction site for A Noise Within's new theater in East Pasadena.

Their new state-of-the-art theater is under construction now at 3360 East Foothill Boulevard in East Pasadena, on the site of the Stuart Company Building, the erstwhile live-work-play campus of a major pharmaceutical firm designed in 1956 by Edward Durell Stone, architect of Radio City Music Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Façade of Edward Durell Stone's 1956 Stuart Company Building.

The original building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was converted into Mad Men–worth mid-century apartments, The Stuart at Sierra Madre Villa, a couple of years ago, with additional new units added behind the original building.

Rendering of the new theater exterior.

While the current Glendale theater has a certain decrepit charm, the new space, designed by Los Angeles–based John Berry Architects, will use Stone's original concrete screen but will rise three stories, with new parts being fabricated to match the building's existing façade. The theater will also provide more backstage space, education facilities and a library.

Construction is in the hands of Matt Construction, who have worked on projects such as the Skirball Cultural Center and the most recent renovation of the Hollywood Bowl.

Rendering of the new theater interior.

I recently attended A Noise Within's season opening in Glendale, a stunning production of Shakespeare's "problem play" Measure for Measure, and was blown away. I can only imagine what the new facility will do to enhance their talent and vision.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Crime of the Week

Bobolini, of Fahrenheit Studios, who occasionally serves as my west-of-the-405 scout, recently found this gem lurking on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.

Abode of the 45° people?

As Bobolini reports: "I am most impressed with the position of the antennae." Indeed, the right-hand aerial seems to be pointed unrelentingly in the direction of the great nebula in Orion, perhaps receiving transmissions from the home planet.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More on the Durand mansion

As you may have noticed, landscape planner Mayita Dinos (who did indeed design Arlington Garden), left a nice comment on that thread.

She was kind enough to forward several photos of the Durand mansion, which once stood on that site.

The Durand mansion.

It was a massive pile—heavy and ornate, would-be casual yet hopelessly ponderous in a late 19th-century way that the Greene brothers and other Craftsman-era architects strove to clear their (and our) heads of.

A carriage ride in Pasadena's year-round summer.

The house looks like a curiosity from a bygone era in the 1961 photo below, in which I assume it must be playing host (somewhat unwillingly, one suspects) to the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts. These ladies seem to be regarding it with the same curious air with which they would have studied a dinosaur skeleton at the Natural History Museum.

The house in 1961.

As Mayita explains, "The Durand house had a planting of Cherokee roses all the way down Arlington Drive. We have planted Cherokee roses along the split rail fence [at Arlington Garden] to commemorate the Durand house."

View of Arlington Drive and other large houses on Orange Grove Boulevard.