The Venerable Trees of the Village Green

Things to Do — By Noah Albert on April 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm

The Village Green, located on Rodeo Road just west of La Brea Avenue and previously called the Baldwin Hills Village, has somehow been protected from the rampant real estate development of the last 50 years. This large development was built between 1935 and 1942 and designed by the architect Reginald Johnson, landscape architects Fred Barlow and Katherine Bashford and urban planner Clarence Stein (the architecture firm of Wilson, Merill and Alexander was also involved). The form of the 64 acre, 627 unit residential area is based on the ideas of the “Garden City” and follows the model of previous projects like Sunnyside Gardens and Radburn. The obvious thing you will notice is that there is complete separation of automobile and pedestrian space. As a result the interior green space of the development is weirdly quiet, like you have somehow wandered off of La Brea Ave and into a meadow. What struck me was the wonderful trees (many of them olive trees and sycamores) that have had some 70 years to dominate the simple modern structures with the mass of their huge trunks and outstretched branches.

Originally built as apartments, in 1972 the units were converted to condominiums. Many of the dwellings have two or less bedrooms, making them ideal for young professionals or seniors. While I was visiting I did see some families and a lot of baby carriages. This remarkable designed landscape was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2001. Please remember that this place is private property, not a public park.

[Photos courtesy of Noah Albert]

 

 

Tags: Architecture, Baldwin Hills, La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles History, Moderne, Offbeat L.A., photography, urban planning, walks

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