The Rip Post                                Riposte Archive

special report:

prepared by Louis Scaduto
Teriton resident and local architect specializing in historic preservation and reconstruction.

From the Santa Monica Historic Inventory report by Paul Gleye:


The noted architectural consultant to the city of Santa Monica wrote in his March 30th 1983 report to the city regarding the significance of San Vicente Boulevard:

“San Vicente Blvd. retains a relatively recent but unique ensemble of
Southern California apartment courts. These courts, larger scale
descendants of the bungalow style court and small apartment court of
the 20^th century, were designed in many styles, but in concept and
plan they are a southern California architectural type. Whereas cold
winters required the maximum enclosed space in northern climates, in
Los Angeles the hallway could be outdoors and the form of a landscaped
garden. Thus the form of the U- or L-shaped apartment court has
flourished in Southern California.

"During the 1920’s, such courts tented to be constructed in historical
revival styles, such as Tudor or Mission/Spanish Revival. By the late
1930’s Streamline was the style in vogue, and the apartment courts were
built with casement windows, curved corners and aluminum canopies, By
the late 1940’s, American Colonial Revival was witnessing a resurgence,
but the style was combined with certain Modern Elements to produce a
stylization of the true Colonial Revival. This stylization is seen in
the simplified, two-story-high portico supported by plane posts. During
the 1950’s, style turned toward the Modern, but in the vernacular
expression of it, Modern vernacular apartment courts retained in the
plan of the traditional courts, but their aesthetic included flat
overhanging roofs, flush corner windows and decorative embellishments
in wood.

"All these styles are present along San Vicente Blvd. From Ocean to
Seventh, and they represent an important chapter in the development of
the Los Angeles streetscape. Because this group in nearly intact along
San Vicente, the review committee deemed them worthy of as a level-3
architectural group.”


Here are some of the criteria the city uses to determine landmark
status which I believe we clearly meet:

* It has aesthetic or artistic interest or value, or other
noteworthy interest or value.

* It exemplifies, symbolizes, or manifests elements of the
cultural, social, economic, political or architectural history of the

* It reflects significant geographical patterns, including those
associated with different eras of settlement and growth, particular
transportation modes, or distinctive examples of park or community

* It is a significant or a representative example of the work or
product of a notable builder, designer or architect.

* It has a unique location, a singular physical
characteristic, or is an established and familiar visual feature of a
neighborhood, community or the City.

* It is identified with historic personages or with important
events in local, state or national history. (The world famous Author, Mickey Spillane/Mike Hammer who has sold over 130 million books, lived here with his wife. )

The architect Stanford Kent A.I.A , published frequently in the local
press was a notable disciple of the tenets of European Modernism. I
believe he caught a special moment in time after World War Two of our
dreams for a better world. The Teriton Apartments at 130 San Vicente
Blvd. reflect a moment in time when the International Style attempted
to equalize varying cultural, social and economic backgrounds in an
architectural language.

The Teriton apartment represents archetypal amenities of the
International Style in a dramatic courtyard setting. Its light-filled,
airy units benefit from the generous natural illumination of its
Southwestern orientation. Its large flat roofs with roof terraces,
overhangs for sun control, metal casement windows, wrap-around corner
windows and concealed gutters reinforce the distinguishing
architectural characteristics of an unique era, when the International
Style enjoyed brief popularity in Santa Monica.

From the air, the Teriton shows a remarkable similarity to the 1925
Bahaus “pinwheel building composition”. We believe he was clearly
influenced by Water Gropius, particularly his home in Lincoln, Mass.,
built in 1938, and Le Corbusier’s Quartiers Modernes 1923-1929 shares
similar short grouping of ribbon windows with steel post supports.
Upper level terrace roof gardens created by cutting out portions of the
asymmetrical facade with rectilinear open skylights above leave the
roof planes undisturbed. This pinwheel plan coupled with the unique
roof cutouts and grouping of smaller ancillary building is found
nowhere else in the San Vicente Historic garden apartment district.

This is dramatically illustrated as one rounds the corner from Ocean Ave. to
San Vicente Blvd.. The Teriton is clearly the gateway building to the
unique Southern California apartment court structures and, as such,
holds a position of prominence worthy of landmark status. The Teriton’s
low-rise front mass does not overpower the street; rather it harmonizes
the surroundings and enhances the architectural experience along San

From a car the southwest approach corner takes on the shape of a
ship’s prow, while the winged like overhangs contribute to the lofty
feel. A clear nod to the rise of the automobile in society and to the
fact that the electric trolley cars had only a few years earlier been
remove from along San Vicente Blvd.

The cliff-like balconies projections protruding from the flat (adjacent
Palisades Park like) façade; brilliantly responding to the site and
optimistic post war economic conditions of the time.

In summer Kent was able to incorporate the outstanding ideas of prewar
modem European housing architecture with the construction efficiency of
American building technology creating an unique post war style.

---Louis Scaduto
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