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.
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!
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.
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:
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?
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.
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!
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
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?
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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. 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!
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 letter below.
To Mayor and City Council, City of Beverly Hills
SAVE THE KRONISH HOUSE
As you’ll recall, your body responded to the crisis by postponing demolition , and asking your planning department to craft a long awaited preservation ordinance.
Many organizations and individuals have since been working ceaselessly, apparently in vain, to try to find a saviour to supplement individual donations being collected by the Neutra Institute. Read the petition signed so far by over 1000 individuals and counting, from the entire world, reminiscent of the 650 letters held up during the council meeting on August 2nd.
As we count the ‘borrowed time’ up now, it’s become clear that the solution has to lie closer to home after all. You could make Beverly Hills a world class favorite!
The city of Beverly Hills needs to step up to the plate and ACQUIRE THIS PROPERTY AS A PUBLIC ASSET!
Buy these people out and reconstitute this to THE NEUTRA LIBRARY IN BEVERLY HILLS
Partner with a local museum, if necessary, to operate this site as a supplement to other similar historic assets you currently have, with low key visitation permitted by appointment, encouraging the appreciation of the architecture of the mid century, and BECOMING THE HERO OF COUNTLESS THOUSANDS!
The Neutra Institute, Dion Neutra, project architect, and others pledge to continue their efforts to find funds to at least partially repay this ‘loan’ put forth by the city, to allow this restoration project the time it needs, to come together on this secluded site.
[your name and city]
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!
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?