At a Pacific Palisades Design Review Board hybrid meeting held at Rustic Canyon Recreation Center, the DRB gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to the proposed project between Chautauqua Boulevard and West Channel Road near PCH.
Sue Steinberg of Howard Robinson & Associates Land Use Planners, gave an opening presentation about the project: its complex site and the land use issues. The building that is currently on the site was unpermitted, so the City considers the site vacant.
The unpermitted structures will be demolished and replaced with a glass/concrete/steel structure that has two dwelling units, two commercial units and six parking spaces off Chautauqua. There will be no access to Channel Road from this building.
The proposed building will open views to the ocean from Chautauqua, by trimming the overgrown vegetation and having 12-foot-height at the entry to the parking area.
The Robinson Design team met with Los Angeles Dept of Transportation to review issues of safety. The DRB was told that it would be a right turn only into and out of the parking area. There will be no left turn from or onto Chautauqua.
The DRB was told there would be bollards on Chautauqua to stop illegal left turns into and out of the area.
The DRB was told that LA DOT said the small number of cars being parked did not warrant a parking study.
Architect Brian Murphy of BAM explained the design of the project, which was inspired with reverence to many of the modernist architects that are represented in the canyon area like, Charles and Ray Eames, Neutra, Ray Kappe, Jim Tyler, Quincy Jones and Charles Moore. Many were inspired by the Bauhaus movement in German.
Murphy wanted the design of the building to be a simple modernist expression of that era.
Design Board Chair Donna Vaccarino called it “It is extremely well done, clean, elegant solution to a difficult site. Noting that it is interesting that the Canyon has retained its creative independence – like that of the Eames house.”
Several residents spoke in favor of the project, that would be located at 148 Canyon Place, finding no objection to modernist design or the future curb cut on Chautauqua onto the parking area.
Building owner Frank Langen, who was born in Santa Monica, was schooled in Europe and the United States. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in economics and philosophy.
Langen returned to Europe and worked as a commodities trader stationed in Paris, Milan and Hamburg. Langen practiced photography apprenticing for several notable photographers.
He returned to L.A. in 1994 and started selling real estate. In 1999 he started the inthecanyon.com website serving the Santa Monica and Rustic canyon areas. Langen bought this property to help a fellow Canyon resident in 2009, so the man would continue to have a place to live.
When the man passed away in 2019, Langen, considered options for the property located on the hillside. The site has unpermitted structures that were built several decades ago.
At the hearing, Langen said he had support from the community and the Santa Monica Conservancy Board and that he had spoken to long-time Canyon resident Randy Young.
Ever cognizant of the Eames House, which is located on the other side of Chautauqua, Langen felt it was important that this building would pay homage to that style of design.
The proposed signage was Specific Plan compliant. The project is also Coastal Act compliant.