Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

Surprise, surprise! Despite its place in architectural history, the Case Study homes weren't on the National Register. I asked the LA Conservancy, "why now?"

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Craig Nakano
Published: 27 Aug 2013, Los Angeles Times

Case Study House #22, (playboy), 1960 Los Angeles, CA / Pierre Koenig, architect © Julius Shulman
Ten Case Study houses from Los Angeles, Ventura and San Diego have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Los Angeles Conservancy announced last week.

The listing includes homes designed by household names of California modernism, such as Charles and Ray Eames, Richard Neutra and Pierre Koenig. All were part of the Case Study program organized by John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture magazine, in 1945. The magazine commissioned architects to develop prototype modernist housing for a post-World War II America, and in doing so, the program popularized a sleek aesthetic that endures today. The program encompassed more than three-dozen designs, but not all were actually built and some have been demolished or significantly altered.

The L.A. Conservancy’s Modern Committee spearheaded the National Register nomination, a nearly decade-long effort that culminated with the National Park Service formally listing 10 houses on July 24.

Adrian Scott Fine, the conservancy’s director of advocacy, spoke with us about the importance of this national recognition, what it means for the historic houses and why an 11th home, Case Study House No. 23A, was deemed eligible to be listed but wasn’t because of the owner's objection. [read more]


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