Tuesday, April 30, 2013

venice eclectic - modern architecture from the '70s and '80s

I never met a house tour I didn't like. And the Los Angeles Conservancy Venice Eclectic tour held April 20, 2012 in beautiful Venice, California was no exception. Even with absolutely no mid-century modern homes to be seen, I made do. #VeniceEclectic #CurratingTheCity

Exit from Tasty Spuds (Charles Arnoldi Studio). 
The tour consisted of four commercial spaces, a dead famous actor's houses (no inside pictures) and a downtown roundabout. So I won't break this up into six posts like usual. I am just gonna splat it all at you. HANG ON.

First a little Venice history. From the tour brochure,
Venice, California was opened in 1905. It was the brainchild of entrepreneur, Abbot Kinny and was a seaside resort modeled on Venice, Italy. A series of canals, a main lagoon, and an oceanfront pier formed a hub of amusements. 
Eventually, it didn't work out and within twenty years, the canels were filled in and Venice became a depressed dump, "Slums by the Sea." Time passed and in the '70s and '80s Venice became a hot Bohemia by the sea where avant-garde artists and architects abounded, most likely attracted by the cheap rents (and lack of law enforcement).

Which brings us to present day and our tour. Venice has now been fully gentrified.

Artist Charles Arnoldi moved to Venice in 1970 and shared studio space with Frank Gehry down by the beach. Charles bought this building, Tasty Suds potato processing plant in 1984.

Next up, the late Dennis Hopper's House (Hopper was a total Hollywood bad boy). But no pictures inside. BOO! Gawd why do they do that to me? Never mind, you can still see the listing photos. From Huffington Post when the 3 lot property sold for $5M in 2012:
The sprawling property, which encompasses 330, 334 and 326 Indiana Boulevard, boasts a corrugated metal barn-style structure designed by Brian Murphy, three two-story condominiums designed by Frank Gehry, a pool, pool house and a guest cottage.
Lot 1: Frank Gehry

Lot 2: The Hopper House

Designed by Brian A. Murphy, dubbed the "Bad Boy of Architecture" in a 1989 Los Angeles Times article.

This is the big curve of the corrugated steel. No pix inside.

Lot 3: The Pool and 2 Bungalows

Bay Cities Garage currently houses Continuum, a product design shop. What was super special about this space was that for 40 years it was the offices of legendary designers Charles and Ray Eames. That was as close as I got to mid-century on this tour.

Homage to Eames

Another homage to Eames

The Architecture Gallery was a 1914 building that was famous for housing the first known L.A. architecture gallery show and the home of architect Thomas Mayne. Now it show cases a pottery studio.

Super weird bathroom

We were all directed to walk down the street and look at a private residence built in 1979 by Frederic Fisher. So I did.

Eccentric for sure.

The Winward Circle Trio tour commenced up the street from here. What is fascinating, is this was where canals intersected and was the location of the Venice lagoon. The current buildings are a "reflection" of what once was.  I like this photo essay at Avoiding Regret remarking on the absence of canals and water in Venice.

Get the Roller Coaster vibe? Race Through the Clouds 1988. 

Arts Building 1988

And the boardwalk. I walked down there just so you could see the real Venice. It was crazier then I remember it. The flags are at half mast for the Boston Marathon which had just happened the previous Monday.

Our finale was the Ed Moses Studio, a little bit in land from Venice central. The docents spoke in hushed tones and were clearly awe struck that we were in Moses' space. I looked him up. I assure you he is a big deal artist. I found it interesting that his studio was built to reflect Hawaii, where we recently vacationed. Mr. Moses was born of a Hawaiian dad, but was raised in the US by his mom.

Very interesting studio space for sure.

Nice kitty.
There was an Instagram contest as well during the tour. You can see my #VeniceEclectic pictures here. Says the Los Angeles Conservancy:
For those who couldn't make it to our Venice Eclectic tour, open up Instagram on your smartphone and search for the hashtag "veniceeclectic" to experience the tour through the tour goers' eyes.
Really cool pictures.

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  1. Wow! I'm gonna be brave and say I just might like this tour better than the mid-century one's you've shown us Rebecca. Notice, I said might...

    1. I know! It is totally your style. Artists studios for days. I enjoyed the tour very much... I do also enjoy peeking inside houses.

  2. YAY EAMES!!!!!! Really funky post. I enjoyed it! Thanks for the tour!

    1. YAY Eames is right. That was another funny surprise on this tour.

  3. What a freakin' cool tour!!! I didn't know the history of Venice, and that was really interesting too. I love these photos, especially seeing where Dennis Hopper lived. The garage opening right into the living area with a big overhead door seemed really appropriate.

    1. I was kind of amazed as I started wandering through the tour. I had no expectations on what I was going to see.

  4. The whole idea of a pseudo Venice with canals is slightly nutty to begin with, so it's appropriate that it evolved into an artist haven. Isn't Gehry's own home in Venice as well? Did you get a chance to see it?

    1. You made me research more! There are a ton of Gehry's in Venice and I think I walked past many and didn't realize it. This apparently is his own home in Santa Monica. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gehry_Residence -- from a distance looks pretty pedestrian?

  5. Wow - great tours! I love the last one inspired by Hawaii and of course Denis Hoppers pad. What a great pool and yard space! Venice central looks like a really colourful, vibrant place. Speaking of Hawaii...I'm off to get a cuppa and read through part 2 & 3 of your Hawaii posts. : )


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