Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tudor Revival Architecture - Los Angeles

Waverly Mansion, Beverly Hills, 1927. Mark Wanamaker Archives

The "Revival" architectural movement in Los Angeles was prevalent between the World Wars. There is an excellent article on these styles in the Lafayette Square Preservation Plan written in 2008.  Here is a description of this type of architecture,
The period between the World Wars was one of intense building activity in Los Angeles, and a wide range of revival styles were built in the area during this period. The Eclectic Revival styles popular in Los Angeles between the First and Second World Wars include the Colonial Revival, Dutch Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission Revival, French Eclectic, Chateauesque, English and Tudor Revival, Italian Renaissance Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Neoclassical Revival, Egyptian Revival, Monterey and HispanoMoresque styles. The Craftsman and Craftsman Bungalow styles continued to develop as popular styles through this period. Many of these styles were popular both as residential and commercial styles, with a few, particularly the Egyptian Revival and Chateauesque styles, being particularly popular for use in small and large scale apartment buildings. All of these styles were based on an exuberantly free adaptation of previous historic or “foreign” architectural styles. The Los Angeles area is home to the largest and most fully developed collection of these styles in the country, probably due to the combination of the building boom that occurred in this region in the 1920s and the influence of the creative spirit of the film industry. 

Did you ever wonder why so many English "Tudor" style buildings are in Hollywood and communities nearby?   Gustave Heully discusses this phenomenon here. There's the Villa Nova Restaurant (Rainbow Bar and Grill) on Sunset, discussed here by my friend, Alison Martino on her blog "Vintage Los Angeles." Charlie Chaplin Studios (Henson Studios) on La Brea is another example of this style. There are countless more examples all over the City.
The driveway at Waverly

The Grotto and Gardens

On Saturday we had a chance to visit a well-preserved Tudor style home in Beverly Hills, Waverly Mansion. The Los Angeles Conservancy held their annual gala on the grounds of the home. We were given access to tour the grounds and limited access to a few rooms inside the house. 

"Charlie Chaplin" came to the party!

The "Grotto" Room

The exterior of this home looks virtually the same as it did when it was built in 1926. There have been renovations and re-creations inside the home, slightly over-the-top, in a more Gothic Revival style.  Waverly Mansion is at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hillcrest Road. Beverly Hills. It is Historic Landmark designation number 9. The home was commissioned by silent film era producers, directors and screenwriters Charles and Al Christie.
When I was a young teen, we lived a few blocks south of this home. One of my school friends lived in the house (1950-1972) with her family. I was lucky enough to play tennis on the court at Waverly Mansion with my friends during these years.  It was wonderful to visit again and relive those memories.
Where's my racquet?

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