Barton Choy Residence
Sitting one address apart in Silver Lake, these two wooden plank-paneled houses' acute angles, use of steep lots, and dramatic façades proclaim the work of innovative architect Barton Choy.
Two wooden plank-paneled houses sit one address apart on Windsor Avenue in Silver Lake, their acute angles, use of steep lots, and dramatic façades proclaiming them the work of one innovative architect. Barton Choy designed both buildings, one (3035 Windsor) for himself in 1972 and the other (3025 Windsor) for his sister Marilyn in 1977.
Their father Eugene K. Choy, a pioneering Modern architect known for designs like the Cathay Pacific Bank and other commercial buildings in new Chinatown, lived about a block away in a 1949 design of his own. The two Barton Choy-designed houses are similar in style, reflecting Choy’s embrace of a Sea Ranch-inspired aesthetic emphasizing clean lines and natural wood cladding meant to age, darken and fade to fit into the surrounding environment. Today Marylin’s house shows new wood planking that will start the aging cycle over again, while the cedar cladding on Choy’s house is a soft gray.
The underlying shapes of both houses, however, remain steadfastly original and postmodern in appearance.
Choy’s house features a large stylized central column enclosing a staircase, and a sharply angled, prow-like glass wall dominating the front façade. Marylin’s house is more wood than glass, retreating further into its hillside lot and even embracing a tree that grows up through the front landing. Both are dynamic adaptations to difficult lots, reflecting Choy’s embrace of a daunting Silver Lake challenge.