The Case Study of Case Studies

What if someone suspended a cluster of Case Study houses in the airspace above a working-class community in the Valley?   Improbable though it may sound, this is coming soon to a ghost building not far from me.

Who would buy there and how would you market it?  I can’t improve upon this pithy analysis from a noted New Urbanist:

“Soooooo. Let’s say you are a reasonably solvent individual who wants 1) a mint condition glass box home that 2) hovers above the Blade Runner view of LA and 3) is a manageable Lyft to the perks of civilization. But you also 4) fancy yourself a bit of an iconoclast who 5) savors the grittiness of said landscape – so long as you personally never have to touch it. What better location than the White Favela of Panorama?”

“You get convenience, street cred, and an ironic address all at once. Two options. Each apartment will be huge and very expensive, designed to appeal to empty nester Boomers who don’t want to mow the lawn anymore. Or, these will be tiny personal cubbies and large common areas to facilitate Millennial bonding. There’s more than one way to cash flow a dead office tower.”

The Stahl House above (Case Study House#22, Pierre Koenig) was built in 1960,  Panorama Tower, a modernist filing cabinet of offices, in 1962. Neither structure served its purpose for very long. The tower was designed by none other than Welton Becket, the king of jet age Los Angeles architecture: Capitol Records, the Cinerama Dome,  Pauley Pavilion, to name a few.

Stahl, the most iconic private residence in the city has been unoccupied for years (also, has only two bedrooms). You could fit four on each floor of this building, and every window would a have a comparable view to the horizon, making the re-imagined Panorama Tower the case study of Case Studies: a luxury Bento Box embedded in the exoskeleton of a mid-century icon, the only one its kind in the Valley.

Takacs Architecture is handling the adaptation. Izek Shomof is the developer. A little sleuthing reveals he has chosen the Millennial option: 194 live/work units. Fifteen per floor, with ground floor retail extending into the adjoining lot.

3 thoughts on “The Case Study of Case Studies”

  1. There’s already an Aldi store under construction behind Panorama Towers, then there’s Icon Panorama due for the Montgomery Ward lot (with more apartments than originally planned)
    Once a bastion for auto cruises, Van Nuys Blvd will eventually become the Metro cruise mecca, with a light rail running from the Orange line station, up to the San Fernando Metro Link station.
    There is a Metro maintainance yard proposed for land south west of the Orange Line station, so some long established small business’ are expected to have to relocate, with funding provided by Metro.
    Last week, the head of Metro endorsed congestion pricing for Los Angeles, telling the agency’s board of directors Thursday that rush-hour tolls on drivers could fund free fares on public transit.
    “We think that with congestion pricing done right, we can be the only city in the world to offer free transit service in time for the 2028 Olympics,” Metro CEO Phil Washington said.
    It’s not clear yet how such a system would work, but if applied across the LA region, it could radically shift the way that people move around the city.
    Washington suggested that a congestion pricing system would encourage more drivers to take public transit, while cutting down on LA’s notorious traffic.

    Just think, White Favelians could cruise Van Nuys all day for free.

    1. Will be watching Aldi on Roscoe blvd closely as it tries to fill the market niche left by Fresh and Easy. In its favor it will have beer and wine, which F/E did not. On the other hand there are already two discount grocery chains within two blocks: El Super and Food for Less. I assume the demographic target is Mrs. UpintheValley, not the locals. The store would appear to be built in anticipation of changing demographics, meaning the Panorama Tower.

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