Housing Slump Begins to Hurt Classic Modernist Architecture


If you weren’t swayed by the early warnings back in June and you happen to be fortunate enough to own a classic Modernist house, we recommend that you just pat yourself on the back and count your blessings for what you have, instead of foolishly trying to sell it off. At least, that’s how we feel after reading this piece in the LA Times about the apparently surprising (to who?) slump in that very particular niche market. Richard Neutra‘s homes aren’t selling, Paul Rudolph‘s dwellings are landing in foreclosure, and it seems like no one is safe in this current economic tearjerker. But before you go all Christina Ross on your house and start threatening to demolish it at every turn because it isn’t selling, the Modernist architecture community encourages you to just keep cool, okay?

“The value of good architecture is not going to get lost,” said Frank Escher, a partner in the Los Angeles firm Escher GuneWardena and a board member of the John Lautner Foundation. “There will always be a collector interested in a piece of historic architecture.”

Still, even before the current economic downturn, [Mike Deasy and others predicted that the love affair with Modernist homes was likely to wane. Deasy started one of the first firms to specialize in Modernist homes in Southern California, but now Deasy/Penner & Partners focuses mostly on younger contemporary architects.

“We weren’t going to remain stuck in the middle of midcentury,” Deasy said.