Thursday, June 27, 2013

Historic Landmark Number 128

Like most departments within City Hall, the Planning staff wears many different hats.  In addition to land use approvals, zoning inquiries, and design review, the Planning Division also administers the City’s Historic Preservation Program.

The Historic Preservation Ordinance was adopted in 1995 and created a program to recognize structures that have historic or architectural significance by designating them as historic landmarks.  What makes Monrovia’s program unique and so successful is the fact that it is voluntary.  The property owner has to consent to the application.  The Historic Preservation Commission, a panel of Monrovia residents, was established to serve as an advisory body to the City Council on matters related to historic preservation.  

A couple of weeks ago, upon recommendation of the Historic Preservation Commission, the City Council approved the 128th historic landmark for the house at 201 Acacia Avenue.   This house was built in 1928 and is an example of the Tudor Revival style.  The house has been wonderfully maintained over the years and is substantially “intact”.  There are many typical elements incorporated into this house that are representative of the Tudor style including the steep gabled roof, half timbers, vertically oriented windows and an attractive arched entry trimmed with brick.  This house represents typical residential housing built in the late 1920s in Southern California reflecting the aesthetic of the Eclectic movement.

Eclectic movement?

As the California/Craftsman Bungalow craze of the teens and early 1920s began to fall out of favor, residential structures built during this period were a mix of architectural styles.  The Eclectic Revival styles took their cue from the Old World styles: Spanish, French, Mediterranean, Dutch and in the case of this house, English Tudor.  Name some architectural style from the past and there was probably a revival and it was probably in the Los Angeles area.  Here’s a few that come to mind:

Mayan Revival—Monrovia’s own Aztec Hotel
Pueblo Revival—338 Highland Place
Egyptian Revival—Egyptian Theater in Hollywood

While Eclecticism typically emphasized accurate copies drawn from the originals, Southern California examples from this period frequently took liberties by incorporating other architectural elements which often resulted in whimsical interpretations of established architectural styles, not unlike a Hollywood movie set.  Coincidence?  Some architectural historians think not.

For Monrovians, the Spanish Colonial Revival seemed to be the predominant style of choice during this period, but there are a fair number of Tudor, French and even a few Monterey and Colonial Revival sprinkled throughout our neighborhoods.

We hope we sparked your interest. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Project Update: 212-216 West Olive Avenue

Picture this—collaborating for weeks on a new development with an architect, working out all the details to make sure that the project not only looks good, but also fits in with its surroundings.  The plans look great, project gets approved, and then during construction you realize something is not quite right…or sometimes just plain wrong.  Nightmare!  Ask almost any city planner and we can tell you about that one project that we ask ourselves, “What was I thinking?” (Luckily that doesn't happen often or we wouldn't have jobs).

On the other hand, there is nothing more satisfying than when a project exceeds our expectations and in our opinion, the recently completed Planned Unit Development at 212-216 West Olive Avenue fits that scenario to a "T."

Now, if you are a long time reader of this blog, and we mean back to post #1, you may recall we blogged about this last August.  The development incorporated three new houses around an 80-year old house which was fully rehabilitated in the process.  We were a fan of the project then and even more so now.   We hope you think so too.

View of Property from W. Olive Ave.

After: 80 Year-Old Home

Before: 80 Year-Old Home

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Approval of 21-Unit Planned Unit Development (PUD)

At their June 4th meeting, the City Council approved a new 21-unit Planned Unit Development (PUD) at 1323 South Magnolia Avenue.  The property is part of the First Lutheran Church.  The development will be on the southern portion of the property replacing the school buildings.  The staff report has all the details, but in a nutshell, here’s what was approved. 

The development has 21 two-story, detached houses ranging in size from 1,579 to 1,870 square feet, each with an attached 2-car garage and private yard.  The architecture is a modern Craftsman style with a combination of wood siding and stucco with stone veneer accents. 

A planned unit development or PUD (“P-U-D”) is sort of a hybrid between a single family subdivision and a condominium.  As opposed to a condominium where the owner has title to the “airspace”, a PUD owner holds title (legal-speak for “owns”) to the building as well as the ground and usually the surrounding yard area.  There is still a homeowners association that is responsible for maintaining the common areas like the driveway and common landscaped areas and the exteriors of the houses.

Artist Rendering of 21-Unit PUD at 1323 S. Magnolia Ave.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Bring On the Burgers and Burritos

The walls of the former Acapulco restaurant are tumbling down, making way for Smashburger and Chipotle.  Demo permits were issued and Caterpillar (CAT) machines are rumbling on site.  For an early glimpse of the demo, check out this picture from the Gem City Images Blog.

If you'd like a little more background about the construction.