It is with a heavy heart I must report the loss of one of our children. The ModernCraft, RIP. 1930-2014.
Mole-Richardson sold her in December for 9.3mil; that should have been a red flag right there. Then the demo permits were applied for, granted, pulled, and she came down in the blink of an eye. These images are from 10 June:
Now while I realize NLA is nobody's personal soapbox, I'm going to rant away anyways, so forgive me --
Hey everyone, you know what? YOU DON'T TEAR DOWN A MORGAN, WALLS & CLEMENTS. I don't care if you did it legally, hell, I don't care if you're Godzilla on one of your Godzillan rampages. You leave it alone.
Morgan, Walls & Clements are shockingly important; a partial list
of their structures reveals that. Anything touched by Clements, who opened his own firm in 1937, is important in its own right.
What's become LA's arguably best-known teardown is the Morgan, Walls & Clements Richfield Tower
. Ten years later the streamline wonder of Coulter's
was felled. Stiles Clements's KEHE
was demolished by the LAUSD -- Godzilla's less intelligent, more inelegant sibling -- despite maintaining a facade that could have been worked into the new structure. We recently lost a Clements in the form of the wonderful Late Moderne Mullen & Bluett
, and people will kick themselves in twenty years when they realize what Late Moderne was. And Hollywood Park
is Clements and has a date with the wrecking ball.
I was pretty darn shocked that a MW&C this good wasn't landmarked, or at least it didn't get flagged and went up before the OHR for review; the ADSLA released this statement
that addresses some of my disbelief. In short, the building was demolished because it was my fault
. It's true: I should be better at landmarking buildings into HCM
s. We all should. Yes it's a pain. Most of the time when someone wants to landmark their house or business they hire out
to do it. ModernCraft was certainly on the Hollywood Survey that's on file at the Conservancy -- my God, with a brain trust like NLA we could go through that and knock out a landmark application a week
. Optimistic, but point being, HCM status could have saved ModernCraft; it might save the next one coming down the pike.
writes similarly on their Facebook page: "We believe there needs to be an organized mass effort by preservation groups like ADSLA to nominate landmarks. Teach-ins, editing sessions, etc. Enlightened individual property owners are doing the majority of the HCM applying, for single family homes, and paying professionals to help them. These are not the buildings we need to worry about. Let the loss of Mole-Richardson be a wake up call. HCM nomination is hard work to do alone--why not crowdsource and simplify it?"
OK, rant over. Big thanks to Margot Gerber of ADSLA
for use of her demo photographs. Margot also just told me that apparently the demo crew has left the back wall. Perhaps the new construction will get breaks and benefits for retaining historic structures! (OK, NOW the righteous pique is over. I promise, the next post will be full of shots from a giant collection of RBKs that I don't think any y'all have gotten into yet, exempli