Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Edward Fickett's 'Hollywood Riviera' Cast in Shadow

Last evening, the West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) held a regular meeting at Plummer Park.  On the agenda was the consideration of the 4-story, 17-unit condo development proposed for 1350 N. Hayworth Avenue, and it's environmental, architectural and community impact on the Edward H. Fickett designed Hollywood Riviera located just north at 1400 N. Hayworth Avenue.
West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commissioners
Located in Rooms 5 & 6 of the Plummer Park Community Center, I found many residents of the Hollywood Riviera gathered inside to voice their concerns over the proposed architectural designs submitted to the council by the developer through a Vanos Architects representative who seemed to be distant from the project and unknowing of answers to some basic questions asked of her by the Commission.

As a representative of LA Conservancy's Modern Committee ( MODCOM ), I felt it important I be there as well to safeguard against any unwanted preservation issues with the Hollywood Riviera.  I was not alone speaking to the Commissioners.  The owners or units from the Hollywood Riviera came out in a herd.  They are passionate about the home they live in and want to protect it from a structure that will ruin the feeling and flow of the Hollywood Riviera due to the developer of the proposed 4-story building, asking for a recommendation from the HPC.
The developer sent into the meeting a stack of low quality images for the project.  Everything was faded out and you had to squint a little to see things.  I doctored them up a little to give example of the project.

After an hour of public comment and concern, the council then asked questions of their own.  Commissioner Torgan suggested a Shade Study be performed to see the influence of project's looming roof line.  Touche, Commissioner Torgan.  I just wished you would have been more supportive of the historical nature of the entire street, but that's another issue.  

Out of all the concerns, light has to be the number one issue in terms of it's effect of the Hollywood Riviera with walls of glass incorporated into it's design, along with a soaring roofline which always makes me think of the Moore House designed by Lloyd Wright in Rancho Palos Verdes with it's wing-like roof features. 
Below you will find the current and proposed footprint for the structure proposed for 1350 N. Hayworth Avenue.
You have to understand the West Hollywood Planning Commission has all ready given the developer the approval to develop with certain restrictions.  It is a given there will be a new structure built south of 1400 N. Hayworth Ave.  The stage the Planning Commission is in now is that of an appeals state where the city has conceded some and the developer has conceded some, so any new proposal to reevaluate the entire project, as proposed by Commissioner Kaye, would highly be unlikely, but power to them if they can convince their friends over at the Planning Commission.  Ahem-ahem...
The commissioners went down the row with Commissioners Kaye and Levin making the most poignant remarks regarding the proposed project.  Their concerns for how this looming building will effect, not only the Hollywood Riviera, but how it fits within Hayworth Avenue in general.  Noting the roof heights and how cumbersome the 1350 N. Hayworth Avenue project was.  Not only were they unimpressed with the presentation by the developer, they also expressed their concerns of the state of the project. 
The north side is the most concerning as it will be facing the Hollywood Riviera and blocking light and views and in turn changing the dynamic of the property dramatically.
 The 4-story south side elevation presented.
 Ground Level Plans
 Third Level Plans
Fourth Level Pans

When asked as to how the architect's project reflects the sensitivities of Fickett's neighboring Hollywood Riviera, we were told that plants would bring it all together.  With answers like that, no one felt confident about the project as a whole, as well as casting a shadow upon the unique Mid-Century Modern next door..  That made the room chuckle.  I don't know about you, but I am not seeing one thing that ties the two buildings together to create a cohesiveness to the street.
The architect provided a few comforts within the design, but not much as the cold and monstrous building design was met by an equally cold reception. 

Anyone looking to join the conversation can follow Save Hayworth on facebook.

Brief History of the Architect:
Edward Fickett attended USC architecture school and graduated from Art Center School before World War II.  Influenced by Case Study architect Sumner Spaulding.  Fickett's first residential home designed for George and Miriam Jacobson in the Silver Lake area. 
The Jacobson House created his identity and solidified his beginnings as a Modern architect - low gabled roofs, walls of glass, wood detail creating comfort and informality.  His "Hollywood Riviera" apartment complex has recently been designated as a Historical Cultural Resource ( HCM ).  Currently, Fickett has been pointed out as the architect of the West Hollywood Park Library Branch.  Urgent action must take place NOW in order to save this landmark building.

In the meantime, have a modern day!

Steve Ward
Realtor®, SFR®
Mid-Century Modern Architecture Specialist
Keller Williams Realty - Los Feliz
Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource
DRE Lic #01871422
213.305.8537 direct
MODCOM - LA Conservancy Modern Committee

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hang in there. modernhomeslosangeles just needs a quick peek before uploading your comment. in the meantime, have a modern day!