The case of the Largent House is, on the face of it, a huge bummer, but there is a cherry on this shit cake. One of five San Francisco homes designed by architect, Richard Neutra, the Largent House stood atop Twin Peaks until the beginning of this year. Built in 1936, it was one of a handful of top-notch, modernist buildings in SF. I would imagine all the neighbors of the Largent House knew of its provenance. When one such neighbor returned from a week-long trip to find a pile of rubble where the house once stood, she filed a complaint with the local planning commission. As it turned out, the new owner, a property developer, had obtained permission to remodel a portion of the dowstairs of the home. What he did not have permission to do was demolish the 1,312 square foot home and replace it with one nearly 4,000 square feet in size. The developer had figured on an easy go-around: he had attempted to retroactively obtain approval for the demolition. Had the house he had razed not been designed by a man considered to be one of the most important modernist architects of the 20th century, the developer would have probably gotten away with his plan.
Instead, the case of the Largent House was heard before the planning commission. There was a 5-0 ruling against the knucklehead developer responsible for the demolition job. Not only must the developer have the house be rebuilt exactly as it was, but he must also have a plaque affixed to the house describing its fate. The SF planning commissioner has said that this case represents a 'line in the sand'. Property flippers/speculators need to know that they can't willy-nilly raze modest-sized homes and replace them with mega-homes that sell in the many millions.
|Viennese-American architect, Richard Neutra|
|The Largent House, Twin Peaks, SF|
|Purpose-built interior pool|
|Arial shot of the demolished home.|