Sunday, June 08, 2014

C & A

I was walking in the West Hills along SW Market St. Drive (yes, it's a street and a drive) when I noticed a pair of familiar-seeming sculptures at the entrance to the swanky Vista House condo complex. I thought, hey, those look like something Lee Kelly might have made. As you might already know, I'm not really a huge fan of his stuff, but it's gotten so I can often recognize it on sight. I went over to take a closer look. On the back, each has the cursive word "Lee". The taller one on the left has the number "90" near the signature (which I assume is the date), and a letter "C" on the base. The other has a "96" near the signature and an "A" on the base. I think then numbers are dates (1990 and 1996, the latter being the year the complex went in). I'm going to guess that the letters are titles, so one is just called "C" and the other "A". I have to guess because I can't find any info anywhere about the sculptures, and I've looked.

While searching for any more info, I ran across a 1996 Randy Gragg column detailing the long, strange history of the Vista House Condominiums. The owners of the land had been proposing various high rise tower designs for this location on and off since 1948, and were repeatedly rejected due to zoning, or neighbor concerns about significant trees. Gragg had high praise for the developer, for barreling through small-minded opposition like a true Fountainhead acolyte. But he didn't like the finished product, going so far as to compare the exterior to low income housing, which is possibly the ultimate insult in his lexicon. He may have been on to something this time, though, because the exterior was that infamous mid-1990s synthetic stucco that caused a national epidemic of black mold and leakage problems. In the mid-2000s the buildings were wrapped in protective tarps for over a year while work crews replaced the buildings' exterior surfaces. It was not a pretty sight.

No comments :