The Historic Neutras : destruction, neglect or salvation?

Please continue to check this blog page for updates and ways in which you can help. Gettysburg Cyclorama is now really threatened. Urgently sign petition.
Please make a donation below to help create The Neutra Center in Silver Lake.
Please also sign our petition to support this new objective. You can continue to sign our Kronish petition to encourage the new Kronish owners to consider allowing occasional access by fans.
For a full list of recent media coverage visit this page - or here.
We encourage you to leave comments at the bottom of this page.

 

Neutra-Office-sm

The Neutra Office Building - Silverlake

Kronish House Kronish House Kronish House Kronish House Kronish House Kronish House Kronish House Kronish House Kronish House Neutra-Office-sm

DONATE TO CONVERT THE NEUTRA OFFICE BUILDING TO "NEUTRA CENTER"

The Neutra Institute is conducting a National Fund Raising Campaign.

Be among many to commit and continue to change the history of preservation In our country! Our new goal is to also attract some of the richest patrons in our country to step up and make up any shortfall to repurpose this icon to 'The Neutra Center in Silver Lake'! WE NEED $5 MILLION! We propose a partnership with LACMA, to form LACMA EAST! Donations are tax exempt between the County Museum of Art and this Institute.

Can we build on the successes we achieved with our efforts for Kronish? Fans still need the opportunity to visit and experience interiors of saved Neutra examples from history!

The Neutra office Building, built 1950, is the only surviving example of Neutra Commercial Design. As such, it has been a City Monument and listed on the National Register for years. Will this make it any more successful for salvation? Situated amid a cluster of a dozen Neutra's within walking distance, it is the ideal 'central' for visitors and fans. It can also serve as HQ for the Neutra Institute.

Visit the Blog page to read more about the situation and our efforts so far. SIGN our petition.

To keep this simple for us; please establish a PayPal account or use your credit card and contribute with the most generous amount you can feel comfortable by clicking the "Donate" button below. We'll keep a tally and let you know how we're doing.

01-13-2012 Dion Neutra.

As we pass days 500+ the fate of this house still remains a mystery. If anybody can fill in the blanks please contact me.

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05-05-2012 Dion Neutra.

As we pass days 200+ still now word as to what's going on behind that shrouded gate. But at least no news of demolition. Does anyone know the status of Kronish?

Time marches on, with more Neutra's in crisis. I heard yesterday that the Kraigher House in Brownsville, TX, had fallen hard times. The University of Texas at Brownsville had entered into a lease with the City who owns the site. Under the arrangement they restored the house and were to use it as a visitor center. This worked for a couple of years. Now, I'm told because of budget problems, the University has withdrawn, leaving the house empty. The city, similarly challenged, has been unable to figure out how to occupy it. Transients are reputedly now breaking in and camping out; it will only be a short time before it is destroyed. This is my effort to put the word out to the National Trust and others. Can readers help me broadcast this to parties that might help? Surely the City could assign someone to conduct city business in that venue, at least temporarily?

Closer to home, read a piece I just wrote regarding our Nash House in Camarillo. I'm hoping we may have dodged a bullet, but stay tuned?.There I was told I only had a few days to better a demolition offer; similar to what we experienced with Kronish, but instead of 60 days, I had only 3!

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01-21-2012 Dion Neutra.

As we pass days 100+, I'm told the house still stands and will continue to do so, but that the owners are very secretive and do not wish to share further plans. I've not been asked to participate thus far, other than to be patient. I worry about roof leaks in this season. They certainly bought the right site for this!

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12-20-2011 Tuesday, Dion Neutra

As we pass 70 days of Kronish's borrowed time, I thought I'd post, if only to let people know I'm still thinking about this, and for "no news is good news"! There must be some activity brewing behind that shrouded gate, but I'm STILL as much in the dark as everyone else. At least to my knowledge the house still stands back there. My offer to be of service is still hanging 'out there'. Continue to sign that petition if only to show continued interest and support?

In the matter of the VDL crosswalk, I finally got the promised letter of support from the State Office of Preservation; thanks so much Wayne! I've resubmitted everything yet again, and have since gotten about 75 signatures on a petition urging the moderated version of this crosswalk; no poles, lights, or buttons! Councilman Garcetti, as a potential Mayor, here is a chance to show leadership! After this is accomplished and a trial period experienced, we can always consider embedded lights in the pavement and a button. It's all just money.

Looking to our new initiative, we're off and running with the Neutra Office Building! Another petition to sign!

Let's all join on the eve of Christmas to give thanks for what we've accomplished, and still hope to! Stay tuned!

Have a good one, everyone! Donate to the Neutra Center fund
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11-23-2011 Wednesday, Dion Neutra

As we pass 45 days of Kronish's borrowed time, I thought I'd GIVE THANKS, if only to let people know I'm still thinking about this, and for "no news is good news"! There must be some activity brewing behind that shrouded gate, but I'm as much in the dark as everyone else. At least to my knowledge the house still stands back there. My offer to be of service is still hanging 'out there'. Continue to sign that petition if only to show continued interest?

I was disappointed in the matter of the VDL crosswalk, not to get a promised letter of support from the State Office of Preservation in time for a neighborhood council meeting that convened that Monday. How about it, Wayne, it's not too late! The last I heard was that was the group has sent an inquiry to the city for more information. Apparently people are concerned about the cost of making any changes. Meanwhile this offense continues; ugly as ever. What's new is that I've started gathering signatures on a hard petition form that I hope to submit. It will serve as evidence that there are others besides myself that are offended by this apparent gesture of disrespect by one department of the City to the others effort at preservation.

Looking to our new initiative, we're off and running with the Neutra Office Building! Another petition to sign!

Let's all join on the eve of Thanksgiving to give thanks for what we've accomplished, and still hope to!

Have a good one, everyone!

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11-14-2011 Monday, Dion Neutra

As we pass the 30 day allocation of the Kronish's borrowed time, I thought I'd post something, if only to let people know I'm still thinking about this. There IS some activity brewing behind that shrouded gate, but I'm sworn to secrecy like everyone else. At least to my knowledge the house still stands back there. I've continued to offer my services.

I was disappointed in the matter of the VDL crosswalk, not to get a promised letter of support from the State Office of Preservation in time for a neighborhood council meeting that convened last Monday. The result of that was the group has sent an inquiry to the city for more information. Meanwhile this offense continues; ugly as ever.

Looking to our new initiative, we're off and running with the Neutra Office Building!

Join with others to sign our current petition in favor of this program and donate to encourage the participation of the wealthiest of our community to put this program over the top!

Consider signing the Kronish petition yet again, or get your friends to do so, we need to keep the pressure on!

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10-26-2011 Wednesday - Dion Neutra

It's been a busy week; time for an up date. We've offered to work with the new owners of Kronish on their terms; still trying to find out who they are. Until the new course is set, this house is still living on borrowed time. I continue to gather evidence to present to the councilman, that a remodel of the crosswalk is desired in front of VDL; a lower key version on an adjacent busy highway is our model. No lights, buttons or poles.

We now shift our intensions to the future of the Neutra office Building in Silver Lake. The idea is to shift the title to the Los Angeles Museum of Art, LACMA, to enable them to better serve the Eastern Part of the county; 'LACMA EAST', aka 'The Neutra Center in Silver Lake'. This building survives since 1950 as the only authentic example of Neutra Commercial design. It has potentially open space in front for gallery use, with two apartments at the rear, one for a curator, the other for visiting dignitaries to the region.

A partnership with another such museum is also a possibility.

Start by signing our current petition in favor of this program and donate to encourage the participation of the wealthiest of our community to put this program over the top!

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10/18/2011 Late Tuesday Eve - Dion Neutra

This evening saw an ending to our valiant effort to repurpose the Kronish to a public purpose; the Neutra Center. The political will was no longer there to buy out the mysterious secret buyers who closed escrow on the house at 12.8M last week. At the council meeting, time was given to the attorney who had represented the Soda partners, who grossed over 2M in the transaction. He lauded the council for its role in the salvation of the house, along with the patience of his clients. Everyone congratulated each other with this success. My favorite councilman, John Mirisch, even managed to mention my role and interest in working with the new owners.

I want to thank all those from all over the world, who tried with me to elevate this house to a nobler purpose, and who donated to this cause. In the end we got over 1100 signatures and about as many dollars towards our goals of 1M and 16M. While we fell short on both counts, we did manage to raise public awareness, which you could say resulted in the City's adoption of a Mills Act program, progress towards a Preservation Ordinance, and, at least so far, in the salvation of this icon, however private it may now become. That it still stands now on borrowed time has to be counted as a success!

Let the new owners know that I stand ready to work with them; realizing that they will need to put their own stamp on this, but hopefully in some sort of harmony with that which they have inherited. I'm not a purist; give me a chance?

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - Dion Neutra

I'm trying to think what we can say now, as we survive Day 1, post Armagedon, except to continue to hope the that the City will come to its senses and take our offer to front the money and rescue this from whatever fate someone is devising behind the secrecy that has clouded the issue for a couple or more weeks now. I would have thought they'd have contacted me by now, if they had good intentions.

Why do I think this lovely project is now living on borrowed time? Please, ANYONE, if you have information, let me share it with this growing public, with 1100 signatures now on our petition and growing!

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10/7/11 - Dion Neutra

Saturday, October 8 was declared by City Council resolution, 'Dion Neutra Day in Los Angeles' on the occasion of my 85th birthday! It was a lovely honor and tribute, which I take as some recognition for the preservation efforts I've mounted over these past many years. As we celebrate my birthday with family, the fate of Kronish looms.

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As Armageddon looms, it appears that the city of Beverly Hills will sit on its hands rather than step up to the plate and rescue the Kronish for a public purpose. What a tragedy for preservation and for architectural history. Will this be recorded as 'Rancho Mirage all over again'? As we write this, it is still not known whether some private party may be considering saving and restoring this icon. Even so, behind that gate; no one will know what has happened to the Kronish, unless these stewards choose to open their property on special occasions. I look forward to working with such parties; my door is open.

If the worst happens, we're also hoping to have the opportunity to salvage certain portions as well as video the destruction. Can the owners please let us know what we should be prepared to do as soon as possible? We're turning off our count-down clock; we've failed to rally the help we'd hoped for. No one can say we didn't get a chance! Far from the 15M, we hoped to raise, I think we just topped $1000, which will be used to defray some of the expenses and will help on other Institute projects. We thank those who contributed from the bottom of our hearts; it was good effort. Don't know what we could have done better. We'll leave the donation function operational for the use of you who want to support the institute or join with a $15 donation. I would encourage people to continue to add their names to the petition until we know the final chapter of this sad saga.

On the VDL crosswalk; no word. I've been swamped with other matters. Hope to follow up next week and let you know.

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10/3/11 Monday - Dion Neutra

Guess what; we've blasted thru the 1000 mark in our petition! Keep up that good work; sign again in if you haven't already!

http://www.neutra.org/kronish/petition.html

Have you been flooding the city of BH with letters? WE'RE STILL NOT OUT OF THE WOODS! Absent any definitive word on the progress of the mysterious parties who are supposedly checking this out, we can not assume the best!

Did you hear that the Kronish won the Wall Street Journal HOUSE OF LAST WEEK competition? Great approbation, considering it was the only modernist candidate being voted upon. Thanks to those of you who supported there. You can check out the images and page about Kronish here - WSJ House of the Day and our winning percentage here (you'll have to click back to "View Previous Polls").

PLEASE WRITE ANOTHER OF THOSE B.H. LETTERS asap - form E letter - The next council meeting is THIS Tuesday the 4th. It's absolutely our last chance to HOLD THE CITY'S FEET TO THE FIRE and shame them into jumping in and advancing the funds needed to rescue this project for the PUBLIC PURPOSE we're advocating; 'The Neutra Center in Beverly Hills'!!!!

Get your friends to follow suit as well. If you're in the LA area, plan to pack the Council Chambers at the Rexford Ave. BH city hall starting at 7:00, Tuesday, the 4th. If we could get a 1000 letters and 100 people to show, it could be decisive.

Thanks to everyone. Stay tuned!

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9/26/11 Monday - Dion Neutra

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since a week ago Friday, when I last wrote. I'm hoping a video we'd scheduled to shoot today will happen and can be included here. Here's a summary:

The council meeting last Tuesday was a bust as far as I was concerned. Only two people showed up to speak and no mention was made of the hundreds of letters that had presumably been received on behalf of the Library idea. Our petition had grown by about 200 names in the past 10 days or so; very gratifying. It would appear that our effort to get BH to step up the plate has failed by inaction or ignoring the pleas.

My pre-birthday bash was lovely! Many brought great food contributions including a lovely custom designed half sheet birthday cake on which we installed a host of candles to blow out. Too many people to thank by name, but I must credit Carrie Graber, artist with a lovely effort to capture the Kronish as seen below. She brought her piece which was inspired by the color photo we've been showing here. Thanks so much for your inspiration, Carrie!

Kronish Painting by Carrie Graber

Kronish Painting by Carrie Graber

Last Monday I attended a ModCom meeting at which I met a contractor who said he'd volunteer some effort to help in the partial dismantling of Kronish should it come to this. I later rapped with him about assembling perhaps two or three 'teams' of experts who could work simultaneously on site if there were to be a time crunch during which we could salvage items from the site. We tried during the past week to gain access; no luck.

Meanwhile a rumor started; there was a serious buyer's offer on the table. Partial demo on the part of the owners had been set aside for the moment while this offer was being vetted. By weeks end, no disclosure as to who these people were, and what their intentions were. I'm faced with having to be out of commission for the next week or two, so I've tried to line up help to keep things going in the meantime. We're now not sure about the previous deadline of 10/10, but we're still concerned; hence the deadline to Armageddon!

It would appear that for now, my dream of an 'open Neutra' in BH, may have evaporated, unless this is a billionaire who wants to buy, restore and fulfill that dream. Obviously having a private party restore this, if done faithfully, is preferable to demolition, so hold a good thought for either possibility; hopefully with us on board.

Meanwhile, we'd appreciate everyone continuing to sign and build our petition to blast past the 1000 mark. Be sure to add remarks; it really makes the whole thing more convincing. Read what people from the world over have said! Who knows, maybe we can still make the Library thing work! Not sure if further letters to BH would be helpful. I note that there IS another council meeting yet on 10/4, a scant week before the original deadline; maybe THAT is the meeting that needs to be packed! So, if you're inclined, keep those letters flowing as well!

The latest media exposure was as a featured home on The Wall Street Journal's "House of the Day"; ironically when it may be only weeks till it is a pile of rubble! Would you please use your blogs and other social networking to pass along a request, to take just a moment and vote for it as their favorite at http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-HOUSE_OF_THE_WEEK.html Our hope is that by recording far & away the biggest number of votes, we can influence the sellers (or further influence the buyer) to protect what they have before it's too late, in the event this current purchase offer doesn't pan out.

A quick note on the VDL cross walk thing. After submitting the first draft you can see below, I noticed a cross walk in our neighborhood just a couple of blocks away across busy Glendale Blvd. at Deane St. There, all that was provided was the markings on the pavement, and a couple of much less intrusive signs with pedestrian icons on them; no lights or buttons at all. Pedestrians can step out from the curb; traffic notices them and stops and it's all over as fast as they can cross! MUCH BETTER; less disturbing to traffic and so much easier for the walkers! I wrote the commission suggesting they lobby for this solution both at VDL as well as Earl 500 yards to the South. Since traffic on Glendale is often even heavier than SLB, what's the problem? Stay tuned; I've asked to be copied with whatever letter is sent; we'll see what comes of this.

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9/16/11 Friday - Dion Neutra

Last chance to sign on for tomorrow Saturday's bash! If we promise not to ask you for a donation, would you grace the festivities with your presence? RSVP? We hope to have a computer set up to where you can sign the growing petition if you can't get around to it before.

Met with the commission yesterday in front of the monument. They agreed to let me present a draft of what they might write to the council. Let's see what of this survives the editing process! Let's hold a good thought that much if not all my points will survive. One member opined that my chances of getting the trees on the west side removed were slim to none if I were to ask neighbors. Who says one should even ASK this question? The fact is, that these drastically block the view onto the monument as well as from inside, and should never have been allowed to get established.

My latest effort will now be directed at getting THE CITY OF BH to front the money to buy these owners out, so that time is gained before the demo permit is actuated on the 10th of next month. I'm hoping to launch this campaign next Monday at a Modcom meeting. Would everyone who signed our petitions consider downloading and then signing on to a form E letter addressed to the council? Thanks so much for your support thus far; at last count, we were edging up on 700 signatures! A way to go to reach our goal of 1M, but still impressive, especially considering where some of the signors live!

Word just received pressures us to provide info for the dismantling of the house as soon as 9/20, for demolition action week of 9/26! There's no time to be lost; if this new plan has a chance to succeed! Get those letters going!

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9/11/11 Sunday, Dion Neutra

As the 'village' commemorates the 10th anniversary commemorations of 9/11, I take note that we've just passed the mid point of our efforts to save Kronish. We're now on the final path to Armageddon in less than 30 days! I've yet to get the feeling that we've succeeded in our efforts to go viral with this campaign. The actual contributions have now topped the $1,000 mark; a far cry from the $16M we said wed need. Some 350 people have signed our petition; again, short of the 1,000,000 I was hoping for. WHAT CAN WE DO?

Our efforts to reach the parties whose past interests have been in this area continue apace, but no luck so far. It's becoming obvious that we will not succeed unless one or more of these types steps up to the plate and SOON.

Can we use the scheduled fund raisers to jazz up our program? The first one, scheduled for next Saturday at the Neutra office Building, still has space available; let's at least pack this room! We need 100; have only a dozen so far. Please plan to join with us and RSVP asap. Plan to attend the second fundraiser as well; on 9/24. For that one, if we get at least 200 attendees, it will pay to take out the insurance the bank requires which costs $300 by itself. We hope to cover these costs by passing the basket at both events. SEE YOU THERE!

Regarding the offending signal at VDL; no new news. Still hoping for some solid support from the Commission after our proposed meeting in a week. Stay tuned... I was able to mock up what the pole would look like if moved as I suggest.

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#12 - As the pole stands today

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#13 - Moving the pole to not obstruct VDL

As this weekend ends, I get the disturbing news that yet another NEUTRA IS IN JEOPARDY! Our embassy building in Karachi, Pakistan, is on the block; for sale. Supporters there are trying to organize the Neutra Cultural Center of Karachi. They fear if the sale goes through, the building will be razed in favor of a high rise office structure!

I'm impressed with the proposal for how supporters are trying to characterize this repurposing of our building. Click here to read what they propose. Once they get a petition up and running, we'll urge everyone to sign up in support!

Will this never end? I fear I won't be able to stand this increasing pressure!

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9/5/11 Monday, Labor Day - Dion Neutra

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

I've been focusing on the Cross Walk Devastation during this past week. It was capped by an appearance I made Thursday at the Cultural Heritage Commission. The pitch was to ask them to support moving the worse offending pole to just North of the main trunk of the big Euc in the right part of the picture below. Secondarily to urge a completely different approach to this with more benign poles only 4' high with flashing lights in the pavement. Finally work towards an ordinance that would require City Departments to run any such project before them for review and tweaking before implementation. We were promised an inspection trip on 9/15, to give the members a personal view of the situation if looking at this blog is not sufficient.

VDL II Crosswalk

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VDL II Crosswalk

#9

Friday morning, a local TV channel 5, covered an interview they shot with me on this subject; did a credible job, I thought. Once we get that footage we?ll try to bring it here.

Saturday, there was a dedication of this new feature, with the politicos taking credit for having done this great thing for the community; I was at yoga class at the time.

Here are other images showing what this forest of poles replete with their 'tops'; can you imagine how this looked before all this got added? One small feature of this new system; when you push the button to cross, it takes a full MINUTE for the lights to change to where you can cross! WAY too long for an impatient patron; WHY?

VDL II Crosswalk

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VDL II Crosswalk

#11

Our first major fund raiser has been selected to also honor me on my 85th. If you're going to be in the LA Area, RSVP to see there's still room; we'd love to meet and greet you!

Dion Birthday Flyer

How can we light a fire under this campaign? It's now only a month before Armageddon, and we're far from reaching the degree of viral outreach that we'd hoped for.

START BY READING BELOW; HELP US GET THE WORD OUT! Also, don't forget to check out our new YouTube Channel!

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8/29/11 Monday - Dion Neutra

We had a great break in the Mountains. On the final night I had a great dream; we'd topped the $16M mark and counting! I even started to figure out what other worthy projects we might be able to fund on top of the Kronish!

I had also had an inspiration in response to someone at camp who asked me to encapsulate our project in a simple acronym. I came up with 'Networking for Neutra' or NFN! How about this scenario? It'll take a "village" to solve this one!

Networking for Neutra: We urge you to spread the word about the Kronish and DONATE. We've created a petition on Care2.com to Save the Kronish House. If you could take the time to sign the petition, and share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter or via email, we'd really appreciate it. Click here to sign the petition and forward to your friends. SUGGESTION: Set yourself a goal of contacting five friends who you think would be willing to do the same with five of theirs. If this keeps going, we have a chance to make HISTORY! Reaching 16M people in two weeks!

If you would prefer to send a personalized email to your contacts, perhaps our sample letter can get you started.

We love your support, but supporters who DONATE will receive gifts at different donation levels. Click here to donate:

  • $1-24: Thank you email
  • $25-49: one Chemstrand Reprint or folded poster signed
  • $50-99: three copies of Chemstrand Reprints; one signed
  • $100-499: signed copy of Survival Through Design
  • $500-999: signed copy of Bauen und die Sinneswelt
  • $1000-4999: Signed copy of Plazen, Wasser, Steine, Licht
  • $5000-9999: Signed copy of Neutra: The Complete Works; 2010 edition.
  • $10000 and up: Dinner with Dion Neutra at 2440 date to be set. Or, an original oil painting on the Kronish theme, yet to be created.

We have only 40-odd days left now, to make this program go viral in this way; PLEASE share this to at least five people. You can do this via email, Facebook, Twitter, blog about it, heck! Sit with your friends and have them look at your computer! Urge them to SIGN THE PETITION and finally DONATE towards our elusive goal. PUT US OVER-THE-TOP for $16M!

As a capper for the weekend, we had the pleasure of sharing a site visit to Kronish with his grand daughter, who lives in the bay area, and who only saw the house once when she was about 1. But on account of her mother, she retains a nostalgic connection, and would do anything to see a good outcome. Aside from draining the pool, which it is said leaks unacceptably into the ground water, nothing much else has changed.

In other news: A viewing of the crossing at VDL reveals yet another visual assault added. Two huge 'Pedestrian Crossing' signs have been hung on these poles further exacerbating the 'pollution of the view field' for this historic monument. I was interviewed by Ginger Chang of KTLA on this, this morning. Is supposed to run with their early morning news broadcasts, space permitting, on Thursday, the 1st, the same day I'm hoping to appear at the next meeting of the Cultural Heritage Commission.

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8/23/11 Tuesday - Dion Neutra

Our first Video Blog! I hope this short video will be shared by all and that it can aid in our continued goal of "viral" status. Please continue to help spread the word and encorage others to donate.

Please use the following, shortened, URL link to share this video - http://youtu.be/Gt5U8TdRz58

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8/21/11 Sunday - Dion Neutra

As promised, this will be my last entry to this series until sometime next week. We had another of our Brainstorm meetings yesterday, thinking of more ways to broadcast this more widely. Only 40-odd days left to Armageddon! So far, we've not been overwhelmed with donations, so what will it take? We continue in hopes of attracting the billionaires out there who could ride to our rescue, as well as encouraging the grass roots support that, in the end, could be the big story. When in the history of preservation, has there been the opportunity to tap the vast reservoir of concerned citizens out in the country who care about our cultural heritage?

We are planning two mass meetings to address the current preservation issues. The first on Saturday, Sept 17, will hopefully be held at the Neutra office Building billed as a 'pre-85' birthday bash for ME, and the second, the following Saturday the 24th at our local Citibank community room, focused solely on Kronish fund raising. Stay tuned for more details.

As this goes out, markings in the street and work in the median on the East side, show the DOTs intentions for the VDL crosswalk. They are ignoring my suggestion of widening the crosswalk area, and narrowly aiming at the nondescript neighbor with the A-frame to the South (you can glimpse this in photos 6 & 7 below). This, it seems to me, makes it even more reasonable to re-locate the worst offending pole out from directly in front of VDL, to a point further south, closer to this crosswalk area, where presumably the extra light would be welcomed at night.

In 1970, in response to my dad's passing just a week before the first Earth Day, I came up with a design for a treatment of the meadow area in front of the Research House. I called it Ecology Garden Park. It featured a water connection to the lake to recall the original inspiration that gave rise to dad's choice of this site on which to build. Whereas I did contemplate a cross walk here, it would have been the type with embedded lights; not tall intrusive poles. That plan could still be largely implemented at some point, perhaps when the City Parks Department takes over. There were good ideas there, that still have relevance.

Earl_Intersection-sm

#8 Dion's cross-walk proposals from 1970, on. Note inset showing his plan for Ecology Garden on Earthday, 1970 in commemoration of the role his father played in respecting the planet. - click to enlarge

This same drawing shows my proposal (of three years ago, now) for signaling the Earl St. intersection, which recognizes and tries to deal with the increased traffic and parking issues that are developing as more people become aware of, and use the new park and walkway around the reservoir. Hopefully those who have opposed this in the past, will come to realize the benefits of modulating traffic in an orderly way, while allowing pedestrians to cross safely to the existing opening in the wall at Earl, which gives access to the park.

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8/18/11 Thursday - Dion Neutra

As promised I took more photos yesterday as the poles start to sprout their attachments; light fixtures on some, traffic lights on others. Here are a couple of shots that partially illustrate the devastating effect these poles will have not only as seen from the street or park, but think of the view from the interior looking towards the Western Sky. Especially at night with low interior lighting the view out to the distant lake used to be positively therapeutic! Now with that luminaire in the foreground; forget it!

This first view is from the Park, somewhat from SW. Note the massive signal light array blocking off part of the view of the monument. These foreign interventions show up in sharp contrast to the greenery.

VDL II from SW

#6

The second one was taken from 100' North looking from the NW across the street. Why the sudden need for more lights here? The signal light array has yet to be rotated out into view, somewhat hidden in this progress shot.

VDL II from NW

#7

Seemed as if the social media were starting to take note and follow our activities. Now all we need is 30M of them to send $5 each; how about it, people?

We're ramping up to a weeks break to our annual pilgrimage to the San Bernardino mountains. May have time for yet another blog entry before we leave you wanting for a week. Back late Friday, the 26th.

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8/16/11 Tuesday - Dion Neutra

Made a point late yesterday to measure more closely where the offending pole, now replete with part of its adornments could be moved, if it can't be eliminated altogether. Between 42' and 45' looks possible considering the trees and storm sewer installations nearby. In lieu the horrific pole, a slim 5' high post with a pushbutton would be acceptable.

Why couldn't this whole crosswalk be one that only features flashing lights embedded in the pavement instead of these intrusive poles on all sides of the street. I feel like I should photograph this again with all the poles in place; it's a forest!

Monday morning I was interviewed for a feature of Wall Street Journal, called 'House of the Week'. The Kronish was featured and I was told if enough people voted for it, it would get even more coverage! As soon as it is published I will share a link for you to register your vote! And don't forget to use our new link http://www.neutra.org/kronish/donate.html to share our new discrete donate page to save this icon!

I made a presentation yesterday eve at the Modcom meeting which started by trying to save Ed Fickett's West Hollywood Library, which was slated for demolition. I wrote a support letter. After that there was the hope that something could be done about the offending pole at VDL, plus more support for Kronish.

At the moment, all we can think of, is an appearance at a Heritage Commission Meeting.

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8/14/11 Sunday - Dion Neutra

I made a point of trying to replicate the Shulman image to show this pole. Unfortunately, trees in front of the house on our property have been allowed to grow up to nearly hide the building from the street; nevertheless you can see what the pole would do if these trees were trimmed which is in the works. We need to get back closer to what Shulman captured. And bear in mind the traffic lights were not yet mounted!

#2 Recreation of the original Shulman - Taken 8/14/11

The view from the site out illustrates yet another problem. A massive pine has been allowed to grow on the park side of the street which completely dominates what used to be a panoramic view of the lake, albeit now in the distance behind the new "meadow". This tree and two others to its right should be removed by the City to open up this view again, the way it appeared 80 years ago now, when dad first admired and selected his site to build his home-office in late 1931.

#3 Silver Lake looking West from VDL II roof - Taken 8/14/11

It is bad enough that instead of water, we now look at lawn, but to have this view so blocked is unacceptable, much as we would never like to see a tree lost. Since we lost 30 other trees further South to create the walkway, surely a case can be made here, to loose three more in this area. Were these removed, you can see how much worse this pole becomes. This is best illustrated by the two views taken from the roof looking SW and straight West.

#4Silver Lake looking South West from VDL II roof - Taken 8/14/11

The other effect of removing these three park trees would be to make more visible and pay respect to this City Monument as seen from the park and meadow areas.

VDL-roof-W70s

#5 Silver Lake looking SW taken from the VDL roof in the 70s. This is the open view we're trying to recapture!

It is my hope that the Conservancy's Modern Committee will take on this cause and champion it before the Cultural Heritage Commission, pointing out that there is a severe flaw in the system whereby a fellow city department can desecrate a designated monument without so much as a public notice, never mind a hearing on such a drastic intervention.

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8/12/11 Friday - Dion Neutra

I thought my main job for these few weeks was Kronish. But today someone told me to walk down in front of VDL; our home office in Silver Lake! THE CITY OF LA HAS DESECRATED ITS OWN MONUMENT! See the iconic Shulman image below, so you can see what thousands over the years have wanted to photograph.

#1 The Richard and Dion Neutra design for VDL II as photographed by Julius Shulman soon after its completion in 1966. Imagine a 50' high galvanized pole replete with signal lights plunked down in the MIDDLE of this view!

An unfortunate intervention of a small group of neighbors managed to convince our councilman that a mid block crossing was more to the point than a regular signal a half block south at Earl St. where it could have done double duty; pass pedestrians when a regular traffic light changed in synch with another further South. I even came up with a design for that intersection that would have dealt with anticipated increased traffic when Silver Lake becomes a public park in five years.

So here we have an example of community based planning gone wrong. Would you install a pedestrian crossing in the midst of a freeway? That's what this will do. But in addition to a wrong headed scheme, they've managed to erect an incredibly ugly POLE in the middle of the favored view that everyone wants to catch when they view or photograph this building.

Somehow this HAS to be changed; I've suggested this pole be moved about 45' South where it would blend in with some existing trees and NOT ruin any efforts to photograph our building. The crosswalk should be widened to still happen in front, where people constantly want to cross in order to view the building from the park side of the street. Stay tuned... Another Neutra in Peril!

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8/11/11 Thursday Dion Neutra

Lots of activity. A couple of what seem like likely private prospects showing interest, with one of which I may meet on the site today. Made me realize that we should also have an alternate Neutra Center Plan in case this one doesn't work out. We have so many other worthy preservation plans as well, we hope everyone will continue to help us reach our 15M goal in time. Note the new countdown display keeping track of the days left to doomsday.

We continue to explore ways to go viral with this appeal. A YouTube video is now in production.

Again very good ideas surfacing from volunteers; thanks so much! As of 11/11, and counting, we had only 58 days left!

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8/10/11 Wednesday - Dion Neutra

Word has reached me that the owners or others, may have taken umbrage with some of what has appeared  in these entries. If that is so, I apologize. No disrespect was intended. On the contrary, in my mind, everything I've been doing has been directed to find a way to take this property off their hands with a profit. I continue in that spirit.

Yesterday, a couple of what would seem to be serious private parties have asked me how they can gain access. One even went on to wonder how control can be created such that any restorations would be done under my supervision so as to ensure authenticity. For that I would be grateful. I've referred them to the listing agent, and offered to show up at a showing.

Several other variations of Plan R, have come up, which I'm fleshing out with the parties as we speak.  A number of new volunteers have surfaced with excellent  ideas. The Village is starting to wake up! Remember; you can CONTRIBUTE!

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8/8/11 Monday - Dion Neutra

Very busy weekend; maybe you noticed. Big article in the LA Times, Saturday morning. I laid it on the table for our big meeting. 15 people showed up; about our max. Good diversity, discussion, and promises of action on most of the 15 tasks that I'd outlined, including how to go viral with this message; stay tuned.

Among others, I wrote a letter to the HOME section of the Times with copy to the NY Times. Also one to the World Monument Fund, and the county Library here, LACMA appealing for help. Donations have started to snow in; we're on our way. Several people are researching how to reach the big bux folk with proven records of magnanimity. Others are contacting school of architecture, TV and Radio media contacts, print and electronic blogs and media, as well as social media of all types. If you have contacts in any of these areas, please chip in and spread the word.

A valuable suggestion was made, which upon reflection, I'd like to adopt; call this the Neutra Center instead of the Neutra Museum. Libraries are more benign as regards visitation and image; less threatening to neighbors.

Progress was made on locating a site to store artifacts salvaged from the demolition should that happen. Next we need a two acre fairly level site on which to reconstruct if it comes to that.

If you want to volunteer to assist us during this crush during the next two months, send a resume and we'd welcome the help. Know that for the council meeting held last Tuesday, August 2, you produced close to 600 letters; the most BH had ever had for a matter like this! Congratulations!

The main push now, is for restoration and re purposing to THE Neutra Center IN BEVERLY HILLS.

Important notice to small donators; give what you'd be willing to pay to tour the new Library; $15, $20? The most important thing is to build the NUMBERS. As we build broad support, the bigger bux people will be impressed!

As I finish writing this, I've had an invitation to join in via telephone in a Kronish discussion on KPCC radio, which airs at 10AM, Wednesday, the 10th; "AirTalk with Larry Mantle" 89.3 KPCC 89.1 KUOR 90.3 KPCV A Southern California Public Radio station.

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8/5/11 Friday - Dion Neutra

As this momentous week comes to the end for most, I'm planning a big get-together at my home studio tomorrow, Saturday the 6th at 2pm. The purpose is to brainstorm on how to go VIRAL with the outreach and fund raising to where we contact 50M people of whom we hope at least 30M will donate $5 or more! At some level we hope to attract matching grants and big bux people to sweeten the pot even more!

We have about 60 days to raise $15-20M. If the whole "village" out there can be contacted and a case made for the salvation of the "last Neutra in BH" in favor of open use for this spectacular project, we'll have achieved National History in the area of preservation by popular support! Note the difference in this approach vs. just sitting back and hoping.

As a backup, just in case this comes up short, we're still prospecting for possible sites on which to rebuild a copy of this using as many salvaged materials as possible. Storage areas in Gardena, CA have been identified, so we'd have a place to store salvaged materials, albeit at a hefty rental charge per month. If someone has a warehouse about 50x100 that they'd donate to store these materials indefinitely for the good of preservation, please check in with me.

Obviously this is the least desirable outcome, but still better than just consigning everything to the trash.

Can you donate NOW and let's show that this country can be rallied to SAVE AN ICON! Stay tuned.

Video to come with more news.

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8/3/11 Wednesday - Dion Neutra

We got a mixed bag yesterday, going well beyond midnight. At least 20 people had filled out remark slips. A declaration that the wrecking ball should not start until October 10, but NO discussion of the City taking up the cudgels itself to rescue this, it's only remaining Neutra. Amid all the support people coming up to the mike, the evicted former occupant of the house testified that to his knowledge the title was encumbered by at least three lawsuits, clouding the ability to issue the demo permit. He went on to state that the house was eminently livable right up to where they left. This was in contrast to other testimony which attempted to document how bad and unlivable the conditions were! Different strokes for different folks.

Fortunately there was sufficient testimony that the place was not beyond salvation, given effort and budget. From my personal survey, given sufficient budget, and the historic code, the structure is still there and could be rehabilitated.

While finding a private owner to take over would be better than complete loss, this Institute still hopes for a public use, so this icon could be seen and enjoyed by all. Meanwhile, I continue to work to figure out what could be done if the worst comes to pass on October 10.

On the chance that we can turn the City around in private consultations to take on buying this themselves, start the fund raising; click below! Every donation is a vote not only to SAVE this, but to make it more available for public access!

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8/2/11 Tuesday early - Dion Neutra

As we ramp up to the all important Kronish council meeting this evening, it's become clearer that the City does not have the reserves to pick up the whole tab on buying these folks out, and may not even have the resolve to declare itself tonight in favor of the adaptive reuse we're advocating. Several council members have been reluctant in the past. Our hope has to be that they can be made to see how a positive press on this can only benefit the City in an area where it has not shined (see the LA times story of yesterday).

In an effort to show the way, this Institute declares its readiness to collect funds in the form of tax deductible donations in a special fund for "the Neutra Center" use of the Kronish House. In the event you wish to support this kind of "citizens preservation effort"; community funding to save local landmarks, please consider donating below left. As we start to show numbers Nation Wide, the press will be watching. You could be part of an historic turn in preservation techniques that could apply anywhere in the country! (Should this effort fail, and God forbid, we loose this opportunity, know that your donations would go to other worthy preservation causes).

It's not too late to write more letters. I've heard they've topped 500 and counting as of last night; Let's hit 1000!

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8/1/11 Monday early - Dion Neutra

As research continues, the notion that Beverly Hills, fronting the funds, could become the DARLING of the preservation community continues to gain support! It would appear that this could be a "win-win" solution whereby the owners are relieved of having to take on the negativity of demolition, and the cost of marketing their parcel. They are paid a fair price for their investment. At the same time the house is saved and restored with a new purpose that enables the public to actually VISIT and enjoy these results, as opposed to the case where a private owner occupies it.

Someone suggested that BH may be tight on money just now. We may have to consider a NATIONWIDE fund raiser to come up, in short order, to reimburse BH for being willing to front this. This Institute could even set up a Paypal option to accept donations which are tax deductible on behalf of BH. Surely this is a charitable purpose for this Institute.

The other beauty of this scheme would be, hopefully, that action could be taken quickly to take demolition OFF THE TABLE!

People reading this, who are interested in saving this icon, should pick up on the Neutra Center option and WRITE BH.

These letters need to be sent now; meeting happens Tuesday eve, August 2; see link below.

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7/31/11 Sunday early - Dion Neutra

I'm so encouraged by this notion of a self-financed salvation for this situation, that we've retitled our blog! I'm really curious what impediments are going to be raised about these proposals!


7/30/11 Saturday noon - Dion Neutra

Another wrinkle. City declares this property prime for public park/Library use. Consider acquisition under eminent domain? Wondering what effect that has on sales price? How about time frame?

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7/30/11 Saturday - Dion Neutra

Here's s a thought for Tuesday's meeting. This is something the City of BH could undertake on its own to take the pressure off. Put up the 15M itself, that it would take to buy these folks out, and fix this house up in place! If you're writing letters, maybe pick up on this, or write again, if you agree. Absent a private owner, why not the City itself? It could make NATIONAL HEADLINES!

Options from then on out include creation of a "Neutra Center" to serve BH and the West side of town. This building would serve admirably to house exhibitions and staff to encourage research and scholarship around the work of this practice over its 9 decades of work. One of the areas that would be interesting would be to document the myriad projects worked on that were never built (or publicized).

A second option would be to prospect calmly and with enough time, to find a suitable outside steward to take this over for some public use, reimbursing the City for this "loan".

Meanwhile, studies are underway to figure out how to record, dismantle and remove the memory of this house at this location. It has become clear that the immediate challenge is to find storage space; ideas?

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7/29/11 Friday later. - Dion Neutra

More developments. Have identified two "movers" who claim expertise (would still like more). For various reasons, we've decided the practical way here, would be to dismantle this house piece by piece, crate it, salvaging as much of the historic fabric as possible. These parts would be trucked to a remote warehouse for storage unless a large enough site can be found immediately next to where it would be re-erected. Time has to be allotted to plan for the new project and get a foundation poured to received these materials.

Can anyone think of storage space under cover that would serve at minimum monthly cost; preferably free? Perhaps someone has vacant land; we could tarp the materials, perhaps. No idea yet how much space would be needed; let's guess at 50x100, depending on access to the site. If out in the open, security will become an issue.

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7/29/11 Friday early. - Dion Neutra

As letters started to snow in, I got a call from the owners attorney. They have become upset at all the action and letters, and are blaming me! They specifically asked me NOT to make an appearance at Council next week! They feel we agreed to work quietly to find ways to dispose of the house; not conduct a campaign to save it. I've decided to stand down and let others advocate if they wanted to. Instead I intend to concentrate on the case that we haven't found a patron to save it. We would salvage as much of the historic materials as possible to incorporate in a rebuilt version of the house on a remote site. They have again barred access. No interest in that Youtube feature. I think they are short sighted, but felt I'd best respect their need for privacy.

I continue to solicit contacts for movers who can show expertise in cataloging parts of a complex structure like this, to be moved and reassembled elsewhere. Would appreciate any support from anyone out there.

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7/26/11 Late, Tuesday eve. - Dion Neutra

Because of another obligation, I was forced to take most of yesterday off. Despite that, much progress has been made, at least on the least favorite of the options for me; dismantling and relocation, Plan X. I've identified several possible sites and more are emerging. I started a dialog with at least one mover. What is needed urgently are suggestions for other such experts, especially those who have dismantled a frame building like a leggo model bit by bit and re-assembled it again at a remote site. The access thru the bottleneck towards Sunset, makes the moving of actual parts of the structure fairly impractical we're thinking thus far, unless an expert convinces us otherwise. Who can we consult with? Please refer them to dion@neutra.org Several media have checked in with us with questions and requests for images; stay tuned.

The Conservancy has weighed in with a blanket mailing this afternoon, appealing to the public to contact the BH authorities to find ways to gain time, if not actually to find a way to stop the demolition. I was contacted by a group who would like to produce a short Youtube type piece shot on site that might circulate via social media. Since this would involve some glimpses of the house in its current state of disarray, the owner needs to be convinced that this is no reflection on them; they did not do this. But such a piece, widely distributed could only enhance their chances for sale, one way or the other. As this day ended, I'd yet to hear from the attorney, who is undoubtedly checking with his clients.

I've thought of trying to make a personal appeal at next weeks City Council Meeting; remains to be seen if they can make space on their agenda.

At this stage, it is worthwhile to give credit to these owners, who appear willing to give a certain amount of extra time to this process to at least see what a few options might look like. This is in stark contrast to the situation at Maslon, where, after lulling people to sleep, that owner acted unexpectedly to foreclose all the options. For this these folks should get credit. No matter how this plays itself out, both they and the City will gain by trying everything else before actually pulling the trigger.

Just as I was about to click this off, a novel approach appeared in the form of an Email to me. I'll call this Plan R. Reconstruct this building from our original plans on a remote site! Would be interesting to compare this with trying to move it. If this is in California, we'd have to have dispensation from the State to excuse us from Title 24, the energy code. I thought this was a genial option; not quite as historic, but taking this house apart stick by stick and reassembling it would require a great deal of new material anyway.

We are very grateful to the remarks being added at the end of this; it's heartening to realize there are like mind folk out there who want to support.

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7/26/11

The L.A. Times have run an article about the Kronish House and our efforts to save it. Take a look at our Media Coverage page to read this article and others that have been written so far.

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7/24/11 Late again, Sunday eve. - Dion Neutra

This was the day, where I was to be allowed entry after all, to do final photography of my/our baby. The agreed hour was 2:30. The listing agent had been asked to open up because the owners attorney, thru whom this was made possible, had a family engagement in South Pasadena. Turned out there were about 10 people there at various times taking still and video pix; all sworn to discretion and not to release anything until this matter is resolved. The attorney finally showed about an hour later; heavy traffic. He seemed personable, and of course, I was very grateful for this opportunity.

The weather was perfect, and I'm hoping we got good coverage of the house from various angles. If you squinted your eyes you could imagine that this would be how we would have wished this, our project, to settle in to its lush landscape. Fixed up again, this place could be STUNNING! We were there until about 5:00PM.

As a condition of this visitation, I'd agreed to undertake a serious study as to feasibility of relocating this house off-site, as mentioned. While advocating salvation as the preferred Plan A, we do have to prepare for the eventuality that destruction may not be avoidable. Wouldn't we be better off salvaging parts or all of this, than just giving up and consigning it to the trash?

The first question has to be "Does anyone have a site we could consider?" How about UCLA; the entry drive area to the Chancellor's Residence (or another spot on campus). This could become a guest cottage for VIPs, or some sort of campus center for events other than those held at the CR! Being "just down the road a piece" this would be by far the most feasible site of any that have been discussed. Known as the repository of our archives, this University site would make a lot of sense. How great to be able to refer scholars visiting to do research on the Neutras, to an actual physical example right on campus, along with the University elementary school on which we also worked. Together with the funds needed to stabilize parts of the house, or dismantle and reassemble it like a temple, we'd need an endowment with which to approach the university, obviously. The amount of money needed, is a part of this study.

Why does this remind me of our Maxwell house of Brentwood, which was finally moved in two pieces down Sunset Blvd. right past the Kronish site to Angelino Heights where it still sits on its blocks. Can anyone put me in touch with those movers?

Anyway, it's something like this, that needs to be put forth in the worst case scenario; if a suitable purchase "as is" offer is not forthcoming in the next few weeks.

PLEASE BROADCAST AND DISCEMINATE THIS BLOG to the widest possible audience! Step up to the plate you millionaire philanthropists! Anyone reading this, please continue to write those great letters for Plan A!

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7/22/11 late. - Dion Neutra

Busy day. People were getting mobilized; letters started to flow into the Mayor and City Council address at mayorandcitycouncil@beverlyhills.org (You may like to read the letter I wrote to the council myself; a key notion is that they could have the capability to invoke what they call an "urgent ordinance"; perhaps reference this in any further letters you write).

The most important hope, of course, would be for a big bucks philanthropist, of which there are many in BH, to step forward to take over stewardship and restoration of this house. It's a big nut to crack; perhaps $15M.

A break-through may have occurred. So long as I agree not to use any images captured in our continuing effort to salvage this house, we may be passed onto the Site this Sunday afternoon. I felt capturing images was more important than not, depending on how the agreement is worded. There was some talk about the feasibility of RELOCATING the house elsewhere! This, at least, gives some time for discussion. Who knows what may transpire if we're not so much under the gun.

Today would have been my aunt Regula's 104th birthday. She was the youngest of the four Niedermann sisters; my mother the eldest. Regula was the office's Executive Secretary for years, serving during the time we worked with the Kronishes. I hold her in fond regard, and am grateful she didn't live to see this day.

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7/21/11 8AM. - Dion Neutra

The LA Conservancy is starting a campaign today encouraging supporters in BH to write or call their City representative to intervene and SAVE this icon/monument (how, is not clear). Meanwhile, the word is that this owner, who remains unidentified so far, is contemptuous of this "fixit" as he terms it, and may feel that he can increase the sales price of this two acre parcel once this encumbrance is removed!

So far, all efforts to present buyers who want to acquire WITH the house for restoration, have been turned away. We fear that demolition might even occur WITHOUT permit or following protocol, such as it is. I'm trying to contact neighbors to report untoward activity in hopes of catching images of the deed in progress.

Now, it seems possible this act may occur DESPITE any efforts by BH! Still, you can imagine the headlines "BH presides over the worst preservation disaster since MASLON ten years ago!" I've been working for years to perfect a Conservation Agreement process to be recorded on title, whereby this owner would have contemplated a fine of $3.5M to encourage him to consider saving his treasure. I tried to suggest this when I visited this site last about two months ago; no takers.

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July 20, 2011 - Dion Neutra

Working on getting a petition going to be addressed to the City and the owner. So many people are weighing in on this, that there should be a way for them to vent! Aside from this kind of pressure, the fans out there are beating the bushes to come up with actual offers that are contingent on the house being retained, and the office retained to assist in its rehabilitation.

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July 19, 2011 - Dion Neutra

Later... The day was spent productively. Contact was made with the Mayor, explaining the situation. He said he'd look into it. A volunteer said she'd draft a letter to the City Council appealing for a special dispensation to delay the wrecking ball. Various attempts were made to find a way to contact the current owners who have apparently lost patience with finding a buyer. So far, no luck. The listing broker is sworn to secrecy. Query: is this not supposed to be public knowledge; who owns a piece of real estate?

I spoke with a photographer who said he could fly over and take pix from the air. As a fan, he'd volunteer his time; would need $500 to charter the copter. Another party volunteered to pass by daily to report on any suspect activities. Others are writing friends who might know potential buyers. Both the NY and LA times are preparing stories. As mentioned, three others ran pieces today; LA Curbed, the BH Courier and one other that I know of. The buzz is mounting.

If this goes down, the city of BH will be come known the world over as the place where vandals were given official permission to destroy THE LAST REMAINING NEUTRA IN THE FLATS of BH! Stay tuned....

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July 19, 2011 - Dion Neutra

THE KRONISH HOUSE, Beverly Hills, California, 1955-2011.
by Dion Neutra, architect

I attended a ModCom meeting last evening. Turns out South of Sunset in BH, there are some controls you must meet not North, which is where we are! Go Figure?

Several people said they'd call the Mayor and threaten him with dire publicity for his City if this goes down with so little ceremony. A considerable discussion was led by me decrying the lack of ability to respond to such crises. Examples of four other recent destructions in BH were given. Pieces have already appeared in LA Curbed, and the BH Courier.

In response to my inquiry, I was told of 120 Neutra Site examples in the City of LA, there are 12 considered "sheltered" by the Monuments Program. Absent nominating and going thru the entire process (est. Cost $2000 a piece), there seems to be no "mini-monument" program that would at least flag the remaining properties in case a permit were requested.

Challenges for ModCom, the Conservancy, or other interested parties; inventory the remaining Neutra Sites in LA; convince the Monuments People to institute a new interim status for iconic examples of the City's historic fabric to help preserve it. Please let me know if you have time and can help. Write me at dion@neutra.org

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July 16, 2011 - Dion Neutra

THE KRONISH HOUSE, Beverly Hills, California, 1955-2011.
by Dion Neutra, architect

This weekend, during the celebration of the Neutra Practice at 85, it was learned that the little known masterpiece, the Kronish Residence, in Beverly Hills is slated FOR DESTRUCTION next week!

The owners have barred entry to our office for the purpose of last minute photos, and it appears likely that the destruction may take place behind locked gates as early as NEXT WEEK.

Because of its location in Beverly Hills, there appear to be no local preservation groups that can be mobilized to delay or save this singular example of the Neutra Practice.

Designed in 1955, I was project architect on this remarkable expression of opulence; one of the largest residential projects that our office produced in the southland, it is close to 7000sf. It was built for tract developer Herbert Kronish and his new English bride expressing some of the most unusual requirements such as mirrors on the ceiling of Mrs. K's dressing room. Rare Carrara Glass lines the walls of the master bath, and there are many other unusual features.

The destruction of this will rank with the loss of the Maslon House in Rancho Mirage. In a similar scenario, a demolition permit was issued there with little concern for the historic nature of the house. In April of 2002, the house was destroyed without public notice or the ability to photograph the deed in action. The outcry following this resulted in national and international outrage that such a thing was possible. The City of Rancho Mirage has since instituted some controls to avoid a repeat. I think the City of LA also has some such controls now.

In 1972, the world famous Von Sternberg House of 1936, home for a time, of Ayn Rand, was also destroyed with only a weeks notice for similar reasons; wanting to no longer have to be a steward of this house. At that time, there was no City Monument program or other preservation organizations to appeal to.

It appears that Beverly Hills has learned nothing in the 40 years that have passed. After some months on the market, where the original listing characterized the property as a "tear down", the owners have apparently given up hope that anyone will have the nerve to buy this and tear the structure down on their own. We understand a demolition permit has been issued with a 10 day grace period which runs out this next week. One prospective buyer had indicated interest in restoring the house, but time is running out.

Admittedly the $14M price tag for 2 acres of prime McMansion level land in Beverly Hills may be fair for an empty lot. To create it in this way seems unconscionable. At minimum photos should be taken of the destruction along with video to record the event. Do we have to call in the Navy Seals to swoop in via helicopter?

Would something like this be permitted in New England, England, France or other countries in Europe? We appear about ready to witness another tragedy; stay tuned....

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