Brentwood Modernist Utopia: Crestwood Hills
We recently had the privilege of touring the first structure built in Crestwood Hills area of Brentwood. Known as the site office, it housed the office area for the architects, draftsman, engineers etc., working on what was then called the Mutual Housing Association.
Conceived in the mid 1940’s (around the time of the development of the Case Study program), the Mutual Housing Association was supposed to be a blue print for California modern living post World War II. Four friends, returning veterans and musicians, concocted a plan to build four houses with a communal swimming pool.
Friends told other friends and before you know it, there were 500 parties interested in buying lots and creating a Utopian Society with inhabitants of like-minded progressive ideologies. Several modern architects were interviewed to contribute design plans for the houses (including Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Lloyd Wright).
R Whitney Smith and A Quincy Jones were selected as the principal design architects for the development, while Garrett Eckbo would contribute to designing landscapes for the sites. A modern Bauhausian community was taking shape. As things go, what was now being called Crestwood Hills, would run into roadblocks externally with the gov’t and internally with owners.
Only 85 houses were built from the original designs. Owners known as “infills” would hire their own architects, which would result in homes by Craig Ellwood, Richard Neutra, Thornton Abell, Welton Beckett, JR Davidson and Cliff May being built.
Unfortunately, the Bel Air fire of 1961 would burn down 49 of the original homes. However, there are still several examples of the original homes which have been maintained and, in some cases, have been placed on historic status. It’s one of the few areas in Los Angeles to see several modern homes all in the same community. If only more individuals had the insight and persistence to see this type of vision come to fruition.
A big thank you to architect Cory Buckner for the tour of her home.
If you would like to know more about this Brentwood Modernist Utopia: Crestwood Hills, contact Brian Courville at 310-622-0312. Or, for additional Mid-Century Modern | Architectural homes, Spanish homes, Historic Los Angeles homes or Classic Los Angeles homes for sale reach us by email at: Brian Courville. If you are considering selling, contact us for a free no-obligation home valuation.