Gainsburg House | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Gainsburg House

The Gainsburg House in La Cañada-Flintridge is a geometrical wonder in the foothills below the Angeles National Forest. Architect Lloyd Wright designed the sprawling one-story house for pharmacist Emanuel Gainsburg and his family, completing it in 1948 (at the same time he was finishing Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes).

In this design, Wright looked to many of his father Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian principles for architecture for all people: he positioned the overall house and individual rooms and windows for passive air cooling, used native and affordable materials, included interior built-ins, and generally emphasized thoughtful, modest design. That said, the Gainsburg House is more arguably dramatic than some of the elder Wright’s Usonian houses, with its overhanging cantilevered roof, interior polychromatic color scheme, and two distinct wings. The wings meet at a central living room, forming an obtuse angle.

In 2003, the house underwent a restoration by Corsini Architects that returned the carport to its original condition (it had been enclosed by a previous owner) and made changes to the interior. Aside from the carport, this splendid Wright design is barely visible from the street, its strong modern lines hidden away behind mature foliage.

Photo by Michael Smith on Flickr

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Laurelwood Apartments
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

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One of the finest Modern expressions of the ubiquitous courtyard apartment complex to be found anywhere in Southern California, Laurelwood Apartments is an International Style complex that contains 20 two-bedroom units on a narrow lot.