Another Architectural Sin: Moore House Demolished

Despite several years of intensive advocacy and significant public outcry, the Moore House (Lloyd Wright, 1959) in Palos Verdes Estates (PVE) was demolished on Wednesday, April 25.

The demolition occurred less than a day after the PVE City Council denied the Los Angeles Conservancy’s appeal of the City’s earlier decision to allow the home’s demolition.

The Moore House was a unique, irreplaceable, and extraordinarily significant modernist residence, designed by Lloyd Wright, renowned architect and son of Frank Lloyd Wright. The environmental impact report (EIR) for the replacement project didn’t evaluate a single sincere preservation alternative that would have maintained the Moore House’s eligibility for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources.

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a state law that requires the evaluation of a range of alternatives. It also requires that those alternatives be analyzed with the public’s interest in mind, not the property owner’s — even for a private residence.

When the EIR for this project failed to provide a reasonable preservation alternative, the Conservancy commissioned our own. It provided for a sensitive addition to the Moore House — a standard approach to increasing the size of an existing home. We met with the owner to present this alternative, yet it was disregarded by both the owner and the City.

With no protections in place for its historic resources, the City of Palos Verdes Estates can continue to erase its architectural heritage, one demolition at a time. If you live in PVE, please let your elected officials know that you care about your city’s tangible history and want it preserved for future generations.

Three other homes by Lloyd Wright can be seen in Southern California, the Sowden house in Los Feliz and the Derby house in Glendale, both built in 1926, and the Gainsburg house in La Cañada Flintridge, built in 1946. Architect Lloyd Wright, eldest son of Frank Lloyd Wright, may have followed in his father’s career footsteps, but his projects — including 1920s houses and two early shells for the Hollywood Bowl — were infused with his own statement about the vibrancy of postwar Southern California. This is a treasure we must all speak up to protect.

Deborah Bremner
The Bremner Group at Coldwell Banker
REALTOR, 00588885, ABR, CDPE, eAgent, CSP, SFR, HRC, CRE
(O) 310-571-1364 DIRECT
(D) (310) 800-2954

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