Modernist William Krisel's iconic Brentwood home razed

The Krisel home last Thursday. Sam Lubell, The Architect's Newspaper.

William Krisel, the modernist architect who designed many Los Angeles homes, had built his own midcentury masterpiece in 1955 on North Tigertail Road. The architectural preservation community was horrified to discover late last week that the Krisel home was being demolished to make way for a new home. Krisel had given the home to his children, then sold it to a buyer who flipped it to the current owners. One of those owners says the structure was too afflicted with mold and termites to be saved, but Krisel disputes that. From Sam Lubell at The Architect's Newspaper, on Friday:

Renowned as a midcentury masterpiece, the property, built in 1955, was not protected by local landmark measures, although the Los Angeles Conservancy had been investigating safeguarding it....

“He assured me he wasn’t going to demolish it,” said Krisel, of one of the new owners, Joe Safai.

On the property yesterday bulldozers were taking apart the house at a rapid pace, crunching steel and glass and hauling it off the site. Safai, standing at the scene, told AN that the house was not salvageable due to an assortment of age-related problems, including termite infested wood and mold.

“It’s beyond repair,” said Safai, who paid $4.26 million for the property. “We originally wanted to restore it, but we couldn’t afford to keep it at the price we paid.”

“The house was definitely not ‘beyond repair,’” countered Krisel. “I am convinced that he purchased the property in order to demolish the existing house.” Krisel added that other teardowns on the block have sold for between $10 and $17 million.

Interior of the Krisel home, by Julius Shulman.

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