Modern History on the Block

By David A. Greene / Published by Dwell
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Make of it what you will: Welton Becket's "House of Tomorrow" is in foreclosure.

Under-appreciated but hugely influential, Becket was the absurdly prolific architect who shaped much of the pre-and post-WWII visual landscape of Los Angeles: from Hollywood's Capitol Records building, the Cinerama Dome, the Beverly Hilton, and Century City, to the Music Center—the downtown L.A. performing-arts complex which now includes the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the signature work of L.A.'s current architectural image-maker, Frank Gehry.
 


Located on the corner of Wilshire and Highland, the former "House of Tomorrow" is a 10,000 square foot office-bungalow complex. In its heyday, it was a dealer's showroom for the trappings of what would become the suburban sprawl of Los Angeles: After World War II, real-estate developer Fritz B. Burns used Becket's building to show off all the newfangled conveniences that homeownership would afford to returning veterans and their families, like gas ranges, indoor electric grills, and central air. For decades afterward, the low-slung mid-century compound served as architectural and real estate office space—and was also used for the exterior shots of Mike Brady's architectural office on "The Brady Bunch." These days, the complex is a leaky shell of its former self, but none the less significant. The foreclosure price of Becket's former showplace? $4.75 million.

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David A. Greene

@david_a_greene

Dave has contributed to Dwell since its inception. He's a CalArts dropout, a former art critic for The New Yorker, and a producer of comedies on TV. He lives in, and writes from, Los Angeles.

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