Cox House | Los Angeles Conservancy
Cox House
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Cox House

Nicknamed the “Tree House” for the giant conifer tree that rises between the beams of its front entryway, the Cox House is a striking Mid-Century Modern residence that literally embraces the natural environment. Designed by local architect John Galbraith in 1959, the residence is a wonderful example of the interpretation and evolution of modernism in Southern California.

The Cox House draws from the Miesian tradition of architecture, which uses simple geometric forms to emphasize horizontality and transparency. The building is a simple, one-story pavilion, with alternating expanses of glass and stone exterior walls. One long, horizontal beam stretches across the entire front façade at the roofline, while individual bays step backward and forward, creating a strong visual rhythm. Rooms lined with floor-to-ceiling windows stand adjacent to recessed patios, blurring the relationship between indoor and outdoor space – a hallmark of California modernism.

Educated at the University of Washington, Seattle, John Galbraith was a Pasadena-based architect who designed a number of institutional, commercial and residential buildings. The Cox House is one of his finest designs and a small gem in South Pasadena’s Arroyo, celebrating European architectural traditions while creating something entirely regional with its natural materials and forms.

Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Nelson Houses

With their simple Mid-Century Modern lines and their breathtaking views, the Nelson Houses are a rare work by one of very few female modernists to gain acclaim in postwar L.A.
Case Study House #1
Photo by Larry Underhill

Case Study House #1

Case Study House #1 introduced architectural elements that came to characterize the Case Study House program, including floor to ceiling glass, a flat roof, and an open floor plan.