Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Endangered Building No. 5

This is another local building that appears to be endangered; it is the Charthouse Restaurant designed by architect Kendrick Kellogg, one of the most gifted architects to work in the Coachella valley. The 1978 building is located at 69-934 Highway 111, and was designated as an historic resource in Rancho Mirage in 2004. Owned by Palm Springs’s maverick developer John Wessman (see endangered builing No. 3), it has been sitting empty for many months and based upon the current appearance of the site, with its dead grass and dying landscape, has had its water turned off for some time. This is yet another example of demolition by neglect, and in its current state is definitely a fire hazard.

The building was designed to reflect the curving forms of the natural site; the hill appears to slope down through the restaurant. In 1994 it received an award sponsored by AIA of the Inland Empire of California, who noted that the building was energy efficient before the concept of energy efficiency became popular. The roof, with four inches of urethane foam, undulates around the perimeter of the small hill resting on recycled roof boards which are supported by laminated curved beams. The centered skylight is made of 3 layers of translucent plastic running the full length of the restaurant. The undulating rock walls are from the site. The double doors at the entrance are made of laminated beveled glass in fine curved wood frames, for keeping out the 130 degree summer heat. A low-profile twenty foot long waterfall runs through the glass near the entrance. In 1981 the restaurant was on the cover of Restaurant Design Magazine. To paraphrase a corporate officer of Charthouse, "To change Kellogg's design is to jeopardize our investment."

Kellogg attended the University at San Diego State, University of Colorado, University of Southern California, and the University of California at Berkeley. He received his architect’s license in California in 1964. Kellogg’s motto is, "the more unusual the site, the better the Architecture." Kellogg’s work features totally unified concepts of organic architecture that were inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and Bruce Goff. His is a rather unorthodox philosophy regarding architecture and the profession: Although architectural school taught basic engineering, it also inadvertently taught Kellogg what not to do. He feels that “Architecture cannot be taught. Beauty comes from within….A license does not make Architecture. Competitions are, for the most part, political. The technology of any time is only a tool.” Kellogg believes “Organic Architecture is the Mother of the Arts. Beauty is the sustainable essence of life. Nature is not sentimental. Both beauty and nature are the practical aspects of our compassion for survival.”


  1. It appears that this building is about to reopen as a restaurant. Have no idea what has happened to the inside.

  2. The Charthouse re-opened as Bananaz Nightclub. It was the 2nd location for Bananaz and both locations were destroyed by arson. The building was too badly damaged and torn down. It's now a vacant lot.

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