Commission Recommends Local Home Built by Rudolph Schindler as Monument

Downtown Los Angeles at sunset

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission voted\ today to recommend a hillside Silver Lake house built by architect Rudolph Schindler for inclusion on the city's Historic-Cultural Monument List.

The monument application for the ``Oliver House'' -- at 2236 N. Micheltorena St. -- was filed by Noel Oliver Osheroff, who grew up in the home and restored the house as an adult. She told commissioners during a February meeting that her parents moved to Los Angeles in 1920, the same time Schindler moved to the city to work on the Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park.

Schindler was a prominent Austrian-American architect who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the Hollyhock House. Schindler made a name of his own by designing several solo projects, including The Kings Road House, Pueblo Ribera Court, Lovell Beach House, Wolfe House and How House.

Osheroff's father visited the Kings Road House in Hollywood in 1928 and went home to his wife and said, ``I have met the man that is going to build our home,'' Osheroff recalled to commissioners in February.

The house was built in the ``International Style,'' which is demonstrated by an emphasis on simple, geometric volumes, stucco wall finishes, floor-to-ceiling glass walls, metal-framed ribbon windows, and horizontal massing. The home is also distinguished by its original wood floors, built-in cabinets, interior clerestory windows and lack of ornamentation.

On Thursday, before the commission voted to recommend the Los Angeles City Council designate the home a monument, Osheroff told commissioners:

``Because it was built in 1933 and 1934, at the depth of the depression, it was a shift in Schindler's building to extremely economical means that people could afford at that time. It's one of the early examples of his so-called plaster skin houses. It used inexpensive, built-in plywood furniture.''

Schindler built the Oliver House in the Moreno Highlands area of Silver Lake, overlooking the Silver Lake Reservoir. Osheroff said she was 5 years old when the family moved into the home, which she lived in until she was 22. According to the Cultural Heritage Commission's agenda, the property is owned by the Osheroff Family Trust.

``It was the first house on this stretch of Micheltorena Street ... and I would like to see it given the cultural monument designation to protect it in the future because it is a very small house by today's standards. It's 1,275 square feet. It's about a half or a third, maybe even fourth, of the size of a lot of the houses on the same street now,'' Osheroff said Thursday.

She added that it is ``such an excellent example of small and simple natural living.''

Commissioners unanimously voted to recommend the property for the Historic-Cultural Monument list, and they praised Osheroff for preserving it.

``I think this is one of my favorite Schindler houses in Los Angeles. It's the simplicity of the design and the complexity of the design that work perfectly together. The rotation to get the views and morning sunlight, afternoon sunset, views of the ocean and the Silver Lake Reservoir ... it' s just an amazing, amazing little house,'' said Commission President Barry Milofsky. ``I also want to compliment the owner on the work she has done in preserving this and thank you for bringing it to our attention.''

Commission Vice President Gail Kennard added, ``I think if we gave awards for owners for their stewardship of their homes, I think Noel Osheroff should get it. She's done just a stunning job.''

The recommendation will be reviewed by the Los Angeles City Council Planning and Land Use Management Committee before heading to the full City Council.

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