Balboa Highlands becomes Los Angeles' 25th HPOZ

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Balboa Highlands becomes Los Angeles' 25th HPOZ

Postby Vavala » Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:31 pm

The Los Angeles City Council declared Balboa Highlands the city's newest HPOZ earlier this afternoon.

Special thanks to Adriene Biondo for her passion, enthusiasm and tireless advocacy for Balboa Highlands!

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Postby Vavala » Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:35 pm

Preserving Eichler’s Valley Homes
By Dana Bartholomew
Staff Writer

Daily News
February 12, 2010

http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_14386819

GRANADA HILLS — Each morning, Adriene Biondo sits down at her piano inside her 1963 home and marvels at modern views through floor-to-ceiling glass.

For living inside her house built by Joseph Eichler is like beckoning Mother Nature to sashay through the back door.

"I love living here, it's so transparent," said Biondo, a resident of the Eichler-built tract of Granada Hills known as Balboa Highlands. "You can see the sun rise in the morning, the moon set at night.

"I feel like I'm in a national park."

Biondo's vintage house is among 108 Eichler homes of Balboa Highlands likely to be declared a historic preservation overlay zone today.

If approved by the City Council, the preservation district would be the second in Los Angeles - and the first in the San Fernando Valley - to safeguard a modernist housing tract. The first was Gregory Ain homes in Mar Vista.

Two such preservation zones in the Valley already help protect vintage bungalows in Van Nuys and historic river rock homes in Stonehurst.

"This is very significant," said Ken Bernstein, director of the city Office of Historic Resources. "Balboa Highlands is the first Valley post-war neighborhood to achieve historic district status.

"It is, in many ways, a coming of age in the Valley."

Eichler was a California developer whose aim was to bring once out-of-reach modernist homes to the middle class. He built 11,000 homes, mostly in Northern California. However, he built three tracts in Orange, Thousand Oaks and Granada Hills.

Between 1962 and 1964, the visionary builder replaced the orange groves of Balboa Highlands with rows of post-and-beam houses with open beams, open floor plans, walls of glass and private interior atriums.
And unlike neighborhoods with covenants against selling to minorities, Eichler steadfastly refused to discriminate.

"They were important because they put modern architecture into the hands of people who otherwise could not have have afforded it," said Aaron Kahlenberg, a teacher at Kennedy High School Architecture & Digital Arts Magnet whose students performed an Eichler survey to create a zone.

"Before that time, modern architecture was something only for the wealthy."

Today, nearly 75 percent of the Eichler homes of Balboa Highland look as fresh as they did under President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Eichler buffs Biondo and her husband, John Eng, meticulously restored their Eichler from a modified Spanish-style rambler to its original modern look, circa 1963, in pastel lime green.

"We've got a Mercury 7 Orbit TV, original fixtures, mid-century modern furniture," said Biondo, past chair of the Modern Committee of the Los Angeles Conservancy, who helped lead the 10-year push for a preservation zone. "It's really a special place.

"To help preserve it will be something that will be looked at fondly over the years. I'm really thrilled."

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Postby Vavala » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:06 pm


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Postby scowsa » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:08 pm

Also picked up by the LA Times

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Postby Futura Girl » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:03 pm


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so......

Postby modfan » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:59 am

How does this affect the homes especially the 'remuddled' ones.
Can they put them back to something approximating the original?

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Postby Vavala » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:12 pm

The buildings within the boundaries of a historic district are classified as either contributing or non-contributing structures. The majority of the buildings must be contributing structures for the designation of the district to be possible. These are the buildings that have high integrity of original design and convey the historic character of the neighborhood. But there will inevitably be some percentage of buildings that are either altered from their original design or were built outside the period of significance for the neighborhood. These are the non-contributing structures. In most cases, non-contributing structures will always remain so. They are subject to a lesser level of design review in terms of proposed modifications, and may even be demolished. However, any new infill construction in the historic district must be of a design that is compatible in scale, massing, and similar materials with the surrounding contributing structures.

This page on the Conservancy’s website provides additional information on HPOZ’s in Los Angeles: http://www.laconservancy.org/neighborho ... t.php#what

In a historic district with modern tract homes such as Balboa Highlands, there is a unique capability to bring non-contributing structures back to contributing structure status more easily because so much of the details of the original construction and materials is known. This is rarely the case in older historic districts where each home has a unique design and the extent of the alterations are usually too great to attempt an accurate restoration rather than one based on conjecture.

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Postby randolin » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:25 am

I would like to volunteer to be on the group that compiles the design parameters for the Balboa Eichlers


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