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Beginning of Year Thoughts on Architecture

So we had a little bit extra left over from our end of year musings and will therefore start the year with an architectural bang. Our mid-century architecture guru finds, what else, mid-century architecture was the hot trend of 2005 and should remain hot in 2006. The homes with a little character continue to sell briskly, with big-name and small-name architects from yesteryear getting all the glory.

Frank Lloyd Wright and Lloyd Wright Mayan Brick properties, Barnsdall opens after a huge City-funded restoration and expansion, the Samuel-Navarro house Diane Keaton restored in the Oaks sells for $3.1 million, Ennis-Brown falls apart in the rain, USC continues to restore the one above Hollywood and Highland and there are endless charity events, parties and shoots at the Sowden House on Franklin that a recent book claims as the site of the Black Dahlia murder (of which the movie version was also shot this year). Mid-century is still in. And Neutra is still the King. From the Shulman show at the Getty, to not one but TWO six million dollar Neutra’s in Bel Air (new high prices for him), one Neutra on the market at $8 million and two more sold in the Palisades for over $4 million (including his case study house). The Lautner Wolf house flips twice and is now on the market again at $4.3 million. Club promoting Hipster Brent Bolthouse is reported by the New York Times to have bought a Lautner in the Hollywood Hills - his as proof of his coolness. Three small Lautners near each other in the Hills all sell at just around a million or more. A bad 80s Koenig with no yard and no garage gets a cold investor-driven make-over and sells for just under $1.7 million. Its gotten so bad that people are practically inventing 50s architectural stars by taking any name associated with their house from he period as slapping an “AIA” after their name in the listing. Ask Lisa Marie Presley. The house she bought in Laurel Canyon and re-did went from $950,000 when I looked at it (no name had been added yet) to $1.9 million when she sold it. And its not her star power that did it. I even saw an agent who used the general contractor’s name from the “B-” recent re-model in the listing as he had gone to architecture school.

At this time, we would invite our readers to make your own predictions about the upcoming year. Will that bubble finally burst? Will we continue to slag on Mediterranean/Tuscan-inspired mcmansions? Will Silver Lake remain hot? Will Hollywood flame out? Will will will.... email us your thoughts, la@curbed.com

(picture of Lloyd Wright's Sowden House via Wikipedia)