Legendary architectural properties play an integral role in the history of Beverly Hills. Learn more about these historic projects and the creative minds that were responsible for them with our hand-picked list of the top 10 architects of Beverly Hills real estate.
Beverly Hills is no stranger to groundbreaking, high-end architecture. Drive around, and you will pass many eye-catching buildings – both residential and commercial – that have been designed by some of the most distinguished architects in the world. Here are a few that have left an indelible mark on this city’s history.
Architect Gordon Kaufmann (1888-1949) designed this breathtaking Tudor style home for oil magnate Edward Doheny in 1928. Completed at a cost of $3 million, it was one of the most expensive private homes in Beverly Hills at the time. If you feel like you have seen this mansion before, you have – Greystone has been in numerous films and television shows, from X-Men to Entourage. In 1971, Greystone became a public park and is now also on the National Register of Historic Places.
Annexed from the sprawling grounds of Greystone Mansion in the 1950’s, Trousdale Estates is today a neighborhood that is known for its celebrity residents and many mid-century modern homes. Renowned architect Hal Levitt (1921-2002) – who designed sleek and minimalist homes for luminaries such as Steven Spielberg and Lew Wasserman – was responsible for several standout examples of design, including this one above that was recently purchased by Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi.
Although it no longer exists in its original form, this sprawling mansion designed by Wallace Neff (1895-1982) for screen legends Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford deserves an honorable mention. At the time, this 56-acre English Manor inspired estate was the largest in the area, and was equally famous for hosting countless parties for Hollywood’s rich and famous. Neff’s architectural style – later dubbed ‘The California Style’ – defined his career. Pickfair was unfortunately demolished in 1990, but his other houses in the area are still among the most sought after.
There is an opportunity to own part of this piece of history. Contact Hilton Hyland associate, Felix Pena, for more information.
In 1914, Burton E. Green – the father of Beverly Hills – built his palace at 1000 Cove Way right behind the famed Beverly Hills Hotel. Designed by architect J. Martyn Haenke (1877-1963), this Tudor style estate is significant for being one of the oldest existing residences in the city and as Green’s personal cherry-on-top for the upscale community that he had conceived. After Green’s death in 1965, the home was remodeled several times and is now in the Georgian style, and has enjoyed other famous owners such as actor Jack Palance.
As one of the few working African-American architects of his day, Paul Williams (1894-1980) was a true pioneer. During his long career in Los Angeles, he designed over 2,000 private homes for clients, many of whom were celebrities such as Lucille Ball and Frank Sinatra. He may, however, be best known for his 1949 redesign of The Beverly Hills Hotel. Although the hotel has been a visible part of Sunset Boulevard since 1912, his architectural additions and updated signage are what make this institution so iconic and memorable today.
Only Charles Moore (1925-1993) – one of the most respected and decorated architects in the world – could have turned a utilitarian project such as the Beverly Hills Civic Center into an architectural masterpiece. His massive expansion of City Hall is a beautiful network of interconnected Spanish Colonial influenced buildings and carefully composed outdoor spaces, and while it exudes practicality, it is also a pleasure to look at and explore.
Acclaimed modern architect Richard Neutra (1892-1970) built several homes in Beverly Hills, but his Kronish House was in the spotlight recently as it was narrowly saved from demolition. A good thing too, as this is considered by many architectural historians to be a seminal example of mid-century modern design, and spanning 7000 square feet, it is also Neutra’s largest home in the region. Shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos III purchased it for a reported $12.8 million in October of 2011, for the sole purpose of preservation.
This house, commonly known as the Michael Ovitz Residence, received a lot of press not just for its unique design, but also because of its owner – Hollywood mogul Michael Ovitz. He desired a residence that doubled as a gallery to showcase his multimillion dollar art collection, and then tapped architect Michael Maltzan (b. 1959), who was no stranger to the art world thanks to his designs for the Museum of Modern Art QNS temporary museum space. The resulting contemporary 28,000 square foot villa is a sleek series of steel-wrapped boxes that both punctuate and blend in with its surroundings.
Built in 1949, Hale House is considered to be one of the most noteworthy examples of mid-century modern design. It is even more remarkable for being designed and built by an untrained architect (but an engineer) named Craig Ellwood (1922-1992). During the 1950’s, Ellwood’s work was in high demand, and his firm produced many minimalist homes in Beverly Hills that aimed to maximize space and sunlight. This particular use of steel and glass, organically tucked into a nook of mature trees, stands out for its subtlety and simplicity.
You may not immediately think of Rodeo Drive’s 1.25-acre collection of high-end stores as a prime example of architecture, but its layout and design is as deliberate and well planned as any sprawling estate. While the main street is the clear centerpiece of the area, it is a secondary street – Via Rodeo – that makes this destination unique. By sloping upwards behind the stores on Rodeo Drive, it increases the available street-level retail space by turning the second floors of its buildings into ground floors. Truly ingenious.