A landmark house with a tragic and unusual history has come up for sale near downtown Los Angeles and it can be yours for $12.5 million. Starchitect Michael Rotondi spent the early 1990s crafting an award-winning postmodern house from industrial materials growing out of a 1922 power plant at the Brewery Arts Complex in Lincoln Heights.
The clients were Richard Carlson and Kathy Reges, developers of The Brewery, the world’s largest live/work art colony. “They really wanted something special,” Michael Rotondi says today. “They were really pushing us.” The spectacular house (The New York Times called Rotondi’s work of this period “epitome of industrial chic”) was used for gallery shows and fundraisers, and as a kennel for purebred show dogs, and shaggier animals that Reges rescued from the nearby rail yards. Reges mentored emerging artists and the home became a hub of the art world. “She wanted to invite people in to a public space on the ground floor,” Rotondi said. “With a private upstairs.”
The 16-acre Brewery complex dates back almost 140 years and was expanded and remodeled incorporating artifacts Carlson collected from other ancient industrial buildings.
During the early years of construction, the site hosted a broom factory and trucking company and the power plant was used as a filming location. One makeover turned it into the “Uneeda Medical Supply” in Return of the Living Dead. “The opening shot of the movie fades in on that building,” said Brian Peck, who played “Scuzz” in the film. “We shot the entire first week there. We built the Resurrection Cemetery next door and there was a police barricade in the street. That’s where I got chased by zombies in the rain.”
The spectacular home includes vast open spaces with floors floating in between, a glassed-in bedroom with wraparound views, and a swimming pool made from a vintage gasoline tank. Reges and Carlson split up in 2002 and Carlson built another experimental residence, this time from shipping containers, on another part of the property. Reges died in 2005 after suffering multiple injuries after a fall at the home. She was 49 years old. The house was left to her companion Leonard Pate, who spent years in court trying to compel Carlson to bring the structure, allegedly built without permits, up to code.
The Carlson-Reges house won an American Institute of Architects award and is revered by architects. Rotondi was a founder of Sci-Arc, spent years at Morphosis, and has a lot to say about architecture. “Our long term memory comes from body in motion through space,” he said. “Your identity is formed as you’re moving through space, and we don’t really comprehend that until you’re in a space that is unanticipated.”
Great house. Tragic history. The whole thing kinda reminds me of Beetlejuice.
h/t: The Real Deal