Historic Place of the Month - September 2011

Congratulations to Terry Robbins who was the first person to correctly guess that the September Historic Place of the Month was:

The Benson Residence

The Benson Residence, located in the Calabasas Highlands is one of Calabasas’ architectural gems.  Designed by Frank Gehry, architect of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles, it is the only example of his work or the Deconstructivism style in Calabasas.  Gehry is a Canadian-born architect who moved to Los Angeles in 1947 and gained recognition in the late 1970’s for experimenting with common and inexpensive industrial materials, such as corrugated metal and chain link fencing.  His first major commission in Southern California was the campus of Loyola Law School, which is located east of downtown Los Angeles.  It was through this commission that Gehry met Robert Benson, a law professor at the school.  The Benson Residence was designed for less than eighty dollars per square foot.  For a 1,500 square-foot home the budget was $120,000. 

The Benson Residence consists of two separate buildings separated by a “moat”. Gehry also experimented with the use of asphalt roof shingles for the House.  It was only later that he noticed that the scalloped pattern appeared to be fish scales.  Since the construction of the Benson Residence and his own home, fish shapes have been a reoccurring theme in Gehry’s work. 


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