Verbin Residence | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Verbin Residence

Good news, on March 3, 2023 the City Council voted in support to designate the Verbin Residence a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM)!

On Tuesday, February 21, 2023 the Los Angeles City Council's Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee voted in support to move the Verbin Residence nomination forward. This was last heard at the December 15, 2022, the Cultural Heritage Commission which voted in full support. 

On October 20, 2022 the City of Los Angeles's Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) voted in full support to take the Verbin Residence Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) nomination under consideration. This is the first of two public hearings at the CHC before it moves to the City Council.

The Conservancy is nominating this property to ensure it is afforded long-term protection. We thank Steven Luftman for preparing the HCM application. 

The Verbin Residence, located at 1335 North Shadybrook Drive, is a unusual Modernist A-Frame and post-and-beam design by architect Norman Shapiro and structural engineer Kenneth S. Iwata. It was designed for Maurice and Doris Verbin, and indications are Mrs. Verbin played an important role in collaborating with the architect and building contractor George Balen. 

In 2022, the Verbin Residence was offered for sale and has now transferred to a new owner who intends to retain and sensitively rehabilitate the house. 

Constructed in 1959-60, the Verbin Residence is architecturally significant with distinctive characteristics of a Mid-Century Modern residence, incorporating an A-frame structure with post-and-beam style and distinctive Polynesian influences. It also can be evaluated as an excellent example of Exotic Revival in the Tiki/Polynesian style, exhibiting quality of design through distinctive features.
In 2013, the SurveyLA citywide historic resources inventory identified the Verbin Residence as individually eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the California Register of Historical Resources, and as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument as an excellent example of aMid-Century Modern residence with an A-frame structure and distinctive Polynesian influences. Additionally, the Verbin Residence was identified in 2021’s SurveyLA’s L.A. Modernism Historic Context Statement for Postwar Modernism, and separately it was used as an example for the Subtheme: A-Frame Buildings.
Maurice and Doris Verbin tasked architect Norman W. Shapiro to draw plans for their dream home, as Architectural Digest reported in 1965:
Having lived in Hawaii, the Verbins endeavored to recreate an atmosphere of island living. Landscaping with volcanic rock and trickling waterfalls among lush foliage lends a tropical aura that continues inside the house as well. Natural materials of wood and stone are used as
structural forms. The exposed forms become, at the same time, both architecture and decoration. The dramatic roof line, created by the soaring A-frame center-section, is reminiscent of primitive island architecture. Even the choice of site lends itself well to the island flavor the owners were seeking.
Kenneth S. Iwata was the structural engineer of the residence, incorporating the dramatic A-frame with post-and-beam and a more standard wood framing structure. George E. Balen was the contractor.

In 2022, the Verbin Residence was placed for sale, as the longtime residence of Maurice and Doris Verbin.

The Conservancy and community advocates were concerned about the future of this highly distinctive Modernist residence, which prompted the preparation of the Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) nomination. The HCM was prepared by Steven Luftman who we greatly thank for this effort. 

Houses similar to the Verbin Residence are often purchased and routinely demolished as teardowns. We hope the HCM designation will ensure both recognition for this unique architectural design and long-term protection for the Verbin Residence. 

  1. Attend the upcoming Los Angeles City Council when they will hear the Conservancy's pending Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) nomination for the Verbin Residence. We will update this page with meeting details and how you can provide verbal public comments once the agenda is published.
  2. Submit written public comments at and use Council File No. 22-1585