Monday, September 1, 2008

Mobile Architecture

America. The nation of immigrants. Uprooted souls. Mobility. Where homes are treated like a commodity. Where people are from somewhere else. On their way to yet another somewhere. The nation of "mobile architecture." Where a fair share of people live in RVs. Where you will occasionally come across houses carried on huge trucks barreling down the highways.

A recent, much publicized example is the moving of a 1941 Neutra house from Brentwood to Angelino Heights in L.A. (photo above with slideshow here.) LA Observed's Kevin Rodderick provides some historical vignettes:

"Though it's rarely seen now now, moving houses at night used to be relatively common in Los Angeles. As Wilshire Boulevard evolved from mansions to hotels and commercial buildings, for instance, several of the grand old homes were rolled to new locations. A gorgeous 1909 Green and Green built by neon-sign pioneer Earle C. Anthony — who also drove the first automobile through L.A. streets — was moved in 1923 from Wilshire and Berendo to Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills."

"The same year, the beautiful Colonial Revival Higgins mansion at 637 S. Lucerne Boulevard in Windsor Square was cut into three pieces and rolled west from Wilshire and Rampart, while the owners partied in one of the sections in transit. That home was designed by John Austin, the architect who later designed Shrine Auditorium, Griffith Observatory and was part of the City Hall team."

Rodderick also wrote an excellent book on the history of Wilshire.
photo Brian Thomas Jones/LAT