Designed by renowned architect Lloyd Wright -- the son of Frank Lloyd Wright -- and completed in 1959, the highly intact Moore House in Palos Verdes Estates was demolished on April 25, 2012. This was one day after the Palos Verdes Estates City Council denied the Conservancy's appeal of the decision to allow the home's demolition.
The house had absolutely no local protection. The City of Palos Verdes Estates has no historic preservation ordinance, and local landmark designation was not available as a preservation tool to help protect the house. Palos Verdes Estates received an F on the Conservancy’s 2003 and 2008 countywide Preservation Report Cards.
The Moore House became threatened with demolition in 2010 when the owners planned to construct a new house on this prime site overlooking the ocean.
The final environmental impact report (EIR) for the demolition and new residential project (formally called the 504 Paseo del Mar Project) was released, and approved, in December 2011. Although the EIR considered the Moore House eligible for listing as a historic resource, it concluded that the house can’t be feasibly renovated to meet the owners’ needs for updated living space.
The EIR didn’t evaluate a single reuse alternative that would maintain the Moore House’s eligibility for listing as a historic resource, despite an outpouring of requests to do so—and the fact that evaluating preservation alternatives is required by law under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
The Conservancy’s comments on the EIR reemphasized our belief that the Moore House can and should be adapted to meet the owners’ needs for increased space, amenities, and energy efficiency. Our comments also refuted the findings presented in both a structural engineering report and an energy performance assessment as inconclusive and failing to provide sufficient evidence that preserving the Moore House is infeasible. The City received hundreds of letters urging preservation of this highly significant, unique home.
Despite such public outcry from the Conservancy and other historic preservation organizations, area residents, design professionals, architectural historians, and individuals across the country and abroad, our pleas fell on deaf ears.
In order to exhaust all administrative avenues, the Conservancy filed an appeal. The appeal went before the Palos Verdes Estates City Council on April 24, 2012.
Despite strong testimony by the Conservancy, the City Council denied our appeal and reaffirmed the certification of the EIR. Demolition began the next day.
Thank you to those of you who wrote letters and/or attended this and other meetings in support of the Moore House.
News stories about the Moore House
Palos Verdes Estates owners tear down historic Moore House. Daily Breeze. April 28, 2012.
Here's the Rubble That Used to Be Lloyd Wright's Moore House. Curbed L.A. April 26, 2012.
Take a Tour of Frank Lloyd's Moore House, Demolished Yesterday in Palos Verdes. LAist. April 26, 2012.
Lloyd Wright's Palos Verdes Moore House Demolished. Architecture Lab. April 26, 2012.
Lloyd Wright's Palos Verdes Moore House Demolished Today. Curbed L.A. April 25, 2012.
Eric Lloyd Wright Tours His Father's Endangered Moore House. Curbed L.A. February 4, 2011.
A Dream Home in Palos Verdes Estates Deferred. Los Angeles Times. July 1, 2010.
See-Worthy House was Lloyd Wright's Vision. Los Angeles Times. November 18, 2001.
The Conservancy's position is, in a nutshell:
- The Moore House was a rare and significant historic resource, designed by the nationally recognized architect Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright). It was one of only two structures designed by him in the city of Palos Verdes Estates.
- The EIR failed to identify and evaluate a single reuse alternative that would maintain the Moore House’s eligibility as a historic resource. This is a clear problem, as the EIR must include at least one true preservation alternative.
- The Moore House could have been modified and expanded in a sensitive way that would address preservation concerns as well as several of the owners’ stated project goals. Yet no such alternatives were seriously considered.
For more information, read our testimony from the April 24 Palos Verdes Estates City Council meeting (PDF).