Over the years, architect Rudolph Schindler's 1949 Laurelwood Apartments in Studio City has been threatened by demolition twice, lost its Mills Act tax breaks, fallen into general disrepair, and suffered haunting rumors. It's one of just a few Schindler apartment complexes and according to architect Martin Fenlon, it's the biggest "Schindler Frame" ever built. Laurelwood has twenty two-bedroom units in two buildings that step upward on either side of a central walkway, with an entry for every step and an outdoor space (either roof deck or patio) for every unit. Fenlon is the architect for a now-underway exterior restoration of the complex that's starting with the left of the two buildings.
Laurelwood's current owner, Vincent Jameson, inherited the complex from his sister Helen, who bought it in 1987 for $1.6 million, according to Big Orange Landmarks. The complex became a historic-cultural monument in 1980 after one teardown threat, and in 2007 the Cultural Heritage Commission toured the site and "found the monument lacked even the basic maintenance and rehabilitation work required as part of the Mills Act contract." The site lost the preservation-based tax incentive.
Jameson has hired Howard Management Group to run the building, and they brought in Fenlon and JS Building Construction to fix the place up. The left building, 11837 Laurelwood Drive, was in the worst condition, so that's where the work is focused now. The roof has been replaced, all the rotten wood is being taken out, and lots of unoriginal details are being made right. Fenlon worked from Schindler's plans, but since Schindler was also the contractor on the project, he didn't make very detailed drawings. Historical photos fill in some of the gaps. The whole process started up about a year ago, and construction is about two months in.
Laurelwood's interiors get renovated as they're vacated and are generally in pretty good shape. There are a few shots of one of the left building's units here. It was renting in March for $1,695.
· Schindler's Laurelwood Apartments in Studio City [Curbed LA]
· No. 228 - Laurelwood Apartments [Big Orange Landmarks]