Neutra (Bailey House) in Trouble?!

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Neutra (Bailey House) in Trouble?!

Postby Axlereid » Sat Mar 26, 2005 10:08 am


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Oh oh

Postby ch » Sat Mar 26, 2005 5:59 pm


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Postby SDR » Sat Mar 26, 2005 7:19 pm

In her 1962/1977 Case Study book, Esther McCoy says "One of four Case Study houses built on a wooded tract on palisades overlooking the ocean. To the left along a curving private road are the Eames and Entenza homes; a Rodney Walker is across thestreet. All co-exist comfortably in the well-laid-out tract."
The Baileys planned from the start to have Neutra add to the house, which he did twice, once after only three years and again seven years later. Before commissioning the second addition, Dr Bailey wrote to Neutra: "I feel that this house does not just sit here passively. . .it draws me to it. . Now my children have decided never to leave, excepting Dale who fancies to buy the lot next door. Since no one will leave we'll simply have to make more room. The house draws others also. After ten years, students still come from all over the world and stand here in postures of reverence, clicking their cameras and adjusting their gazes. Is it simply that they want to join a cult of which you [Neutra] are high priest? Or is it that the building acts on them too -- tells them some archetypal truth which sets them free?"

I believe the brickwork of this house, unusually for Neutra, a Case Study or indeed for any brick building, has its mortar oozing out of the bed like a softened masonry ice cream sandwich? Most peculiar. . .

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Postby SDR » Mon Mar 28, 2005 12:30 pm


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Postby nichols » Mon Mar 28, 2005 12:39 pm


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Postby savvy » Thu Mar 31, 2005 11:44 pm

How many Neutra houses are in LA county?

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Postby nichols » Fri Apr 01, 2005 12:21 pm

The architect who is working on the Bailey house is going to make a presentation on his work at the next MODCOM meeting April 18.

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Postby SDR » Fri Apr 01, 2005 1:34 pm

Thank you. Guess we'll have to hold on til then.

What does the site look like at present -- anybody? Am I right in remembering the peculiarity of the "extruded" brick mortar? Maybe the photos I saw were of another Neutra wood-and-brick residence -- I distinctly recall the unusual use of T-111 looking vertical siding, which was used on the fascia over the large glazed openings as well as on the other wall surfaces.

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Last edited by SDR on Fri Apr 01, 2005 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SDR » Fri Apr 01, 2005 2:17 pm

Well, the photos I have of the Baily House show no such details. Rather, another, unidentified Neutra house, illustrated with two period photos in "Tomorrow's House" (Nelson and Wright, # 169-170), seems to be the one I refer to above. Rather than having grooved siding, it has vertical board-and-batten siding, in the locations mentioned; it also has an indoor-outdoor planter, with a curved curb, adjacent to an entrance. It appears to have extensive brickwork, as described. . .

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Nesbitt House

Postby ch » Fri Apr 01, 2005 3:52 pm

SDR,

The house you are referring to is the Nesbitt (sp?) House, a distinct departure from a "typical" Neutra house, much more woodsy in feel and materials. I remember reading an article that the designer Barbara Barry had purchased the house because it was a Neutra, then proceeded to "fix" everything she thought was wrong with the place, this done by a person with no formal architectural training at all! The arrogance, the horror! I think her biggest gripe was that the house was too dark and heavy in feel - well duh, it's a brick and natural finish wood house.

Anyone know anymore about the sad fate of this one? Can't wait to hear about the plans for the Bailey. Someone please keep us posted.

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Postby nichols » Fri Apr 01, 2005 5:12 pm

http://www.washington.edu/ark2/archtm/MLC2239.html

Here is something from another forum
http://www.pushpullbar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=580

Don't worry too much. It appears to be in the hands of a very experienced restoration architect.

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Postby SDR » Fri Apr 01, 2005 5:22 pm

Thanks, Craig and mr nichols. I feel like a dummy for all the thrashing around on these two houses -- and I still haven't found the source of the photos I've seen of the Nesbitt, which clearly show the unusual brick mortar (not that I like it, but I'm intrigued). So sorry to hear that one has probably been messed up, too, even if only with paint.

Speaking of which (we have to keep this thread going til mid-month, now): I don't know how they did it, or when, exactly, but the restoration of the King's Road house of Rudolph Schindler involved the removal of white paint from old redwood exterior boards -- at least part of the house had been painted at some point (photos of it in that condition appear in Esther McCoy's "Five California Architects," of 1960. So it seems that this is not an impossible task.

SDR

According to a post on the pusspullbar site, the house was on the market one year ago tomorrow, at $4.2 M !
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Postby PreserveLA » Tue Apr 19, 2005 8:05 pm

Had a chance to peek at the Bailey House a week or so ago. The word I received from reliable sources isn't good. The house's new owners are advertising the work, which is currently underway, as a "restoration." In my opinion, what they are doing is far from it. The plans call for stripping the existing walls down to the studs, removing the third addition, and rebuilding the house the way the "architect originally intended it to be built." In other words, the finished house may look the same or similar to the existing, but all of the original fabric will be gone. They also plan to remove the existing swimming pool.

When I was there, it appeared that walls had been stripped and the windows removed. Much of the landscaping, which I'm told was carefully tended by the previous owner, has been trashed as well. It is very sad.

How was the architect's presentation at the Modcom meeting?
News, Information & More at http://www.preservela.com !

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Postby nichols » Tue Apr 19, 2005 9:25 pm

preservela,

I wish you had been able to join us last night. Leo Marmol of Marmol-Radziner, known for their award winning restoration of Neutra's Kaufman house in Palm Springs, gave an in-depth presentation including a layered site plan showing the evolution of the house and even bringing along a sample of the damaged framing. They are planning a "rehabilitation" not a "restoration" according to the Secretary of the Interiors standards. According to Marmol, the finished exterior will appear much as it did in 1947. The footprint will return to that specification. It is being used as a guest house/office for an adjoining property.

There was a major salvage effort and all built-in furniture, doors, hardware, windows, fixtures and salvagable pieces are in their shop now undergoing restoration. The pieces that are not being reused were donated to the Eames foundation at their request.

According to Marmol there was serious structural damage to the wood frame caused by dry rot, termites and fungus. Steel columns were rusted through at the base and no longer structural. Much of this will be cleaned, secured, left in place and the function replaced by new structural members hidden inside the walls alongside new heating, electrical and communications systems.

I personally feel the house is in good hands.

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Postby PreserveLA » Tue Apr 19, 2005 9:53 pm

Good to know. Still makes me wary, though. The extent of the actual construction is considerable, and I have enough experience to know that many projects waving around the Secretary of the Interior's aren't always as "compliant" as one might think.

You mention that the project is a 'rehabilitation' versus a 'restoration.' This is certainly splitting academic/philosophical hairs, but returning the house to a 1947 appearance is much more akin to the Standards for Restoration than it is the Standards for Rehabilitation. What about the significance of changes made to the house in later years, by the architect of record no less. A 'rehabilitation' recognizes the entire period of significance of a property, not just a single moment in time.

I'm also curious to know, did they mention anything about the pool?
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Postby Futura Girl » Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:09 am

I am disappointed I missed the meeting and this presentation. BUT I am thrilled to know that the rehabilitation/restoration architects are the Marmol/Radziner team. whew - what a relief!

If anyone can be trusted to do the right things for this house it's Leo Marmol and company.

When he showed us his work at the Kauffman House in Palm Springs - I will never forget the moment of wonder when he talked about going to the original section of the original rock quarry to get the correct matching stones for repairing the chimney. My mouth dropped as Leo beamed as he pointed out how every single screw in the roof deack lined up perfectly - (and they really did).

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Postby Joe » Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:47 am


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Postby nichols » Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:09 am


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Postby SDR » Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:16 am

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Postby ch » Wed Apr 20, 2005 12:49 pm


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Postby SDR » Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:28 pm

Who designed the Lew House? That rings a bell, but I can't place it. . .


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Postby ch » Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:39 pm

SDR,

It was also designed by Neutra, located in Sunset Plaza area of the hills. We were lucky enough to get a look inside at an open house when it was for sale. For the most part, a nice job done by M+R but since it's not as pure as say, the Kaufmann, I am being extra picky.

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Postby ch » Sat Apr 23, 2005 12:20 pm

Here is an interesting take on the Bailey restoration from Preserve LA:

Bailey House Construction
There is news to report about the Bailey House, otherwise known as Case Study House #20. The home, designed by Richard Neutra, was one of 36 residences constructed between 1945 and 1966 as part of the Modernist Case Study House program. Completed in 1948, it was owned by the Bailey family until last year when it was placed on the market for a whopping $4.2 Million. It is now under construction.

New owners have taken control of the house and begun an extensive "restoration" of the residence. The architect is Marmol Radziner and Associates of Los Angeles. Information boards posted on the property describe the project as follows:

"The restoration of the Bailey House will return the house to Neutra's 1951 design. The goal of the restoration is to maintain the integrity of the master's vision and the pure form of the house while acknowledging the realities of contemporary living. Views of the house from [the] street will be preserved, and the strong connection between indoor and outdoor spaces will be re-established."

I had a chance to peek at the Bailey House a week or so ago. The word I received at the time made the project sound more like a demolition and reconstruction than a restoration. I was told that plans called for stripping the existing walls down to the studs, removing the third addition, and rebuilding the house the way the "architect originally intended it to be built." In other words, the finished house will look the same or similar to the existing, but all of the original fabric will be gone. There are also plans to remove the existing swimming pool.

When I was there, it appeared that many of the walls had been stripped and the windows removed. Much of the landscaping, which I'm told was carefully tended by Baileys, has been trashed as well. It is very sad.

A presentation at the most recent MODCOM meeting reportedly portrayed the project in a more favorable light. The architect, known for their award winning restoration of Neutra's Kaufman house in Palm Springs, "gave an in-depth presentation including a layered site plan showing the evolution of the house" and even brought along a sample of the damaged framing.

They are planning to "rehabilite" the house according to the Secretary of the Interiors Standards. The exterior of the house is to be returned to its 1947 appearance and will be used as a guest house/office for an adjoining property. Accordingly, many features of the house have been salvaged - including all built-in furniture, doors, hardware, windows, fixtures - and are now undergoing restoration offsite. A number of pieces were also donated to the Eames Foundation at their request.

According to the architect, the house suffers from serious structural damage caused by dry rot, termites and fungus. Steel columns were also found to have rusted through at the base. These elements will be cleaned, secured, and left in place, with a new structural system constructed alongside, hidden in the wall. New heating, electrical and communications systems are also specified.

The house is located on Chautauqua Way in the Pacific Palisades. It sits at the mouth of the driveway that leads back to the Eames House. The Entenza House is also right next door. In Case Study Houses: 1945-1962, Esther McCoy describes the Bailey House as "one of four Case Study houses built on a wooded tract on palisades overlooking the ocean. To the left along a curving private road are the Eames and Entenza homes; a Rodney Walker is across the street. All co-exist comfortably in the well-laid-out tract."


http://www.preservela.com/archives/000404.html

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Postby PreserveLA » Tue May 10, 2005 12:21 pm

Thanks for the quote Craig! For anyone who is interested, I just posted a photograph forwarded to me by a recent visitor to the property. You should take a look. Speaking quite frankly, I find the amount of original material that has been removed to be absolutely astounding.

See the photo:
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Postby ch » Tue May 10, 2005 1:46 pm


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Postby synthetic space » Tue May 10, 2005 2:34 pm


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Postby SDR » Tue May 10, 2005 4:08 pm

Craig, and SS, with all due respect, what is being done to the Bailey house is, according to the owner and/or the architects, a restoration of the house to its original specification and appearance. While I am as surprised as you are by how much material has been removed, I am willing to believe, based on previous work done by Marmol Radziner + Associates that the best route to that end is being pursued. If it were necessitated by the deterioration of the existing fabric, and it could be afforded, I would certainly be in favor of a total re-build. That is because I differ with the most consevative archival approach, which calls for the retention of as much original tissue as possible.

I see no benefit in being able to point to a piece of wood -- which might have been so rotten that it had to be back-filled with epoxy putty and reinforced with hidden glass fiber, etc etc, in order to make it function -- just to say, "that was the original door-jamb" (or whatever). The material in this house was just ordinary redwood and common red brick -- not Honduras mahogany and Vermont granite.

We'll have to ask if everything that could reasonably have been done, was done, to save visible surfaces with their original patina, etc. But, would you really rather this house not be re-built on its original site? I have no doubt that the house was cared for -- but we've been told that there was extensive hidden rot and infestation, which renders the material absolutely useless. Would you prefer to "let it go?"

Believe me, I know your heart is in the right place -- but isn't your disgust better reserved for those who destroy WITHOUT replacing?

On the "Schindler" thread, today, I learned that the Erlik house had to have a 2nd story addition removed and most of the original fir "furnitecture" reproduced, in order to return it to its original form. How fortunate we are that there are those who can afford, and have the will and desire, to undertake these recoveries. Shouldn't we be grateful to them?

Best wishes -- SDR
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Postby sdmod » Wed May 11, 2005 10:22 am

Craig and SS I am with you. I have tons of respect for the work that I have seen from M&R and feel that they are great ambassadors of preservation most of the time but I think that the questions / concerns that you have posed above are fair. Further, it is not as if this firm has only done great work. I have seen a few projects that looked like remodels to me. Architecture firms have clients and in most situations clients guide the way a project will be executed. I highly doubt that this level of replacement was required to “saveâ€￾ this house. Much more likely these “replacementsâ€￾ were a convenience in pursuing other types of updating/retrofitting etc (save money and or time). In short, there are different ways to approach these types of projects and I agree with what Craig said above, the original materials, patina, and history of the home is in large part what constitutes the historical fabric of the building. Once redone much of that fabric is lost. This is why replacment should only be done when absoluley needed.

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Postby Joe » Wed May 11, 2005 10:30 am

OK, now I am confused. I thought the house was in good hands. Somebody please explain the bad which is happening.

Thanks.


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