Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cabot’s Pueblo National Register Nomination

On Friday, the State Historical Resources Commission met in Redlands to consider a number of Nominations to the National Register. Among them was the nomination I recently prepared for the Cabot Pueblo in Desert Hot Springs. I am pleased to say that it was unanimously approved and will be forwarded to the Keeper of The National Register in Washington. Upon the keeper’s signature, Cabot’s Pueblo will be the most recent Coachella Valley property to be listed on the National Register.

Cabazon Library (1958, John Porter Clark) R.I.P

Cabazon Library (1958, John Porter Clark)
50171 Ramona Street
Cabazon, CA

A friend recently alerted me to the proposed demolition of this extraordinary little gem of a Library Building by John Porter Clark. Built in 1958, when Clark was practicing as a sole proprietor, it bears a strong resemblance to the small, simple, early houses of Clark & Frey. Of post and beam construction with lots of glass walls, it is a simple building, flat roofed and rectangular in plan, with a single wall plane extending into open space. The building has retained a high degree of integrity. Observable changes include the replacement of two out of three large trimless glazed openings on the principal façade with conventional windows framed in natural aluminum. In an apparent - but unnecessary - attempt to “improve” the building’s appearance, murals have been painted on the front façade’s metal paneled walls. Fortunately, these could be removed.

A brief tour of the town reveals that this is unquestionably the best building in this sad little town, and while I can understand that the Banning Library has chosen to close the largely unused building, it still seems to me that the building should be mothballed until someone buys it and adapts it for a new use.

La Quinta Architecture

Last week my Realtor friends K and T invited me to join them in La Quinta to look at a house on San Pedro (see below) that may have been designed by architect William Cody. The invitation was irresistible partly because I’m always interested in finding previously undocumented Cody projects. But also, I rarely turn down access to a gated community when I know of other architectural treasures located areas that I would otherwise not have access to.

The San Pedro home that I looked at with my friends indeed has many of the hallmarks of a Cody design. Built in the 1960s, it compares favorably with the Goldberg Residence on Southridge and also the Sieman Residence on Camino Monte. It’s really a cool house and is quite possibly a Cody design.

While I was in the (gated) neighborhood, I took the opportunity to drive by the Pepper Residence (above), a beautiful 1961 home designed by A. Quincy Jones that once sported original interiors by Arthur Elrod. Don’t know what the interiors are like today, but the front façade is still great looking and beautifully maintained.

The last discovery behind the gates is a famous house Cody designed for the W & J Sloan Furniture Company to showcase their furniture. Sloan’s started in New York around 1900 and later had important stores in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Many an important California interior designer started their career by selling draperies, etc. at Sloan’s. The Sloan Residence has rarely been seen, but judging from these photos, it has been fastidiously maintained and is one of Cody’s best.

After leaving the Country Club, I drove over to the La Quinta Hotel, a 1926 Spanish design by Gordon B. Kaufmann, one of the Southern California architects most skilled in Spanish style work. The architect's monograph states: "The original buildings were built of Adobe bricks manufactured on the site, with tile roofs and floors. Kaufmann’s signature details are here: the loggias, arches, chimneypots of a multitude of forms, Ramadas for dining, and private patios enclosed by walls, low and high." Although surrounded by later development, there is still much of Kaufmann’s work to admire here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Stan Sackley in Palm Springs

I’ve been in love with this house since the first time I saw it. It is located in the Canyons neighborhood and is believed to have been designed by the late Stan Sackley. It has been suggested that it was influenced by Rudolph Schindler’s late work
A brief biography of Sackley follows: Stan Alan Sackley (1937-2001) was the son of Robert Irving Sackley (1906-1993) and Rose (Gould) Sackley who were New Yorkers of Polish descent. Little is known of his background, but the family relocated to California where he graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from USC in1961. It has been said that he studied at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin, but preliminary research has failed to substantiate any connection with Wright. Although Sackley was never licensed in California, one source indicates that he, at least for a time, maintained a partnership called Sackley & Light. Fairly well-to-do, he maintained homes in Beverly Hills and Palm Springs. He appears to have been married three times and divorced twice. His third wife Carol Sackley is pictured on the cover of “Palm Springs Life” in July 1965. He was an avid classic car collector, owning Jaguars, a 1979 Ferrari 308 GTS and a 1937 Chrysler Coupe, which was sold at auction at Christie’s in August 2001. Upon his death, a scholarship fund was created to memorialize his parents, the purpose of which was to assist financially needy USC architecture students.
An early project was a home for James Hollowell which was featured as a “Playboy Pad” in the April 1966 Playboy Magazine. In Palm Springs he is best known for a series of homes he created in “the Canyons” neighborhood near the south end of town. Sackley’s best home, in my view, is located at 2550 Pequeno Circle (adjacent to Krisel's pod house at 2587 S Pequeno Circle) and is a modernist masterpiece. Sackley bought numerous lots in the area along Caliente Drive and built a group of speculative homes. All are large, modernist, and flat roofed. A common characteristic is the unusual placement of the garage door perpendicular to the street; this provides a parking court in front of the homes. Recently, two of the homes have sold in the Million Dollar plus range. PS ModCom is including a Sackley home on their upcoming tour.