Complex love: Village Green (Baldwin Hills Village)

Complex love: Village Green (Baldwin Hills Village)

Gregory Han
Aug 10, 2007

Steven's beautiful residence was the subject of a recent house tour, and today he returns for this week's Complex Love, giving us all further insight about the very community which he calls home: Village Green.

When the first residents moved into Baldwin Hills Village in 1941, they were eager to participate in a revolutionary idea in multi-family housing. Advertising promised "A new and finer way of living", with "the atmosphere and activities of a country club and the services of a hotel". [continued]

Complex Love is a photographic celebration of Southern California's unique apartment architecture history. Live in or nearby an apartment complex of notable or unusual design? Please submit photos and information to gregory (at) apartmenttherapy (dot) com.

It was designed by Reginald D. Johnson (known mostly for grand mansions in Pasadena and Santa Barbara) in cooperation with associated architects Edwin Merrill, Lewis Wilson and Robert Alexander (who became Richard Neutra's partner after World War II). Clarence Stein, who adapted Ebenezer Howard's English Garden City ideas for use on the East Coast in the 1920's, was hired as consulting architect for this 68 acre "superblock". The buildings were designed to be modern, yet simple; the emphasis was on the innovative layout of the buildings within the landscape. Fred Barlow, Jr. designed the landscape, which was a modern interpretation of "Old California" style.

The 629 units at Baldwin Hills Village were completely occupied by completion of the complex in 1942, and it became a very desirable place to live. A devastating flood occurred in December 1963, when the dam at the Baldwin Hills reservoir broke. Several people lost their lives, and many buildings at Baldwin Hills Village were severely damaged. Architect Robert Alexander was called back to oversee the restoration of the Village.

When the apartments went condo in the 1970's, it became known as the Village Green.

Located conveniently in the center of Los Angeles (15-20 minutes to downtown, LAX, Hollywood, or Santa Monica), the Village Green has been going through a period of revitalization recently. Young professionals and families with children are bringing a fresh energy to this still relatively unknown Shangri-la. Buildings are being restored, and a plan is in place to replace major infrastructure items like plumbing, irrigation and wiring, bringing the 629 units up to current day standards. Residents enjoy lots of open green space, jazz concerts on the green several times a year, and holiday events like Easter Egg hunts and hayrides at Halloween.

The units range from 1 bedroom brick bungalows at just under 800 square feet, to 3 bedroom units at nearly 1,600 square feet. Prices range from the mid $300,000's for smaller units to over $600,000 for the rare 3 bedroom units. Rentals also come up from time to time. The apartments are well designed and built with quality, with lots of closet space and windows. Many units feature wood burning fireplaces, large balconies, and every unit comes with a large enclosed patio and a single car garage. Guest parking is plentiful. Visitors always comment on the beautiful mature trees in this urban forest, and the amazing sense of serenity and quiet in the midst of a bustling city. It feels nothing like the rest of Los Angeles, or anywhere else for that matter! It was designed to foster a sense of community, and that feeling still exists. It really is an oasis of calm and beauty, and we are all passionate about living here.

*Many thanks to Steven for this detailed tour. More photos of Village Green from Steven can be seen here.

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