a letter of Support
Lincoln Place is a large multi-family
garden apartment complex built in a park-like setting throughout a contiguous
38-acre area in the beach community of Venice, California. The site plan
is rooted in the English Garden City Movement. These bungalow court/garden
apartments were built from 1949 to 1951 and feature both International
Style and Moderne architectural elements. The architectural firm of Wharton
& Vaughn was hired to design the development, with Ralph Vaughn of
the firm leading the design team.
A careful orchestration of small
gardens, courts, and common grounds was shaped by the architectural grouping
of 52 apartment building blocks, containing a total of 795 one- and two-bedroom
apartment units. In addition, there were approximately 90 one-story parking
structures that included carports, garages and attached laundry rooms,
along the alleys of the complex. In addition about five detached
small communal laundry buildings were scattered throughout the property,
echoing the apartment building blocks in design and materials. Over
350 mature trees cover the site.
The units are defined by the bold
geometric shapes framing the apartment entrances and the geometric shapes
of the windows and openings to the balconies. Further, the buildings
were given special design attention by varying the entrances, window designs
and balconies, creating much more variation than is typical of developments
of this size. Lincoln Place was built to provide luxury living to the low
to moderate income household. It has continually fulfilled this function
through the present, although there have been various corporate owners
of the property.
Until recently, the complex was
in original condition. Today, one perimeter building block has been
altered and seven more perimeter buildings have been demolished, leaving
44 of the original 52 residential building blocks in original condition.
There have been no visible additions or changes to the exterior or interior
of these buildings since they were built. Not even the doors or windows
have been changed. In addition, about 15 of the original 90 original parking
structures were demolished along with the demolition of the aforementioned
perimeter building blocks. These were adjacent to the demolished
building blocks. Still, the remaining laundry buildings and garage structures
scattered throughout the property are in original condition, although some
garage doors have been added to the carports. There has been no infill,
and the original walkways, character-defining green open spaces, the communal
grassy courtyard, and other features of the site plan maintain their original
appearance. No structures have replaced the demolished buildings.
This Registration Form seeks historic district eligibility for the buildings
and for the site plan comprising Lincoln Place, acknowledging that the
one renovated building block does not contribute to the districtís significance.
Location and Setting
The complex is located a half-block
east of Lincoln Blvd, a major commercial street that runs north and south
from Santa Monica through Venice and is less than a mile inland from the
Pacific Ocean. It is bounded by Lake Avenue to the North, Frederick Street
on the West, Penmar Avenue on the East, and an alley one block north of
Palms Blvd on the South. Within easy walking distance are two elementary
schools, a middle school, a high school, a park, a supermarket, and dozens
of mom and pop and chain businesses. Despite the relatively
high density of Lincoln Place itself, it maintains a tranquil setting.
The site plan protected the feel of community by means of specific zones
for resident car traffic and pedestrians, with most of the car traffic
behind the buildings in small alleys leading to carports and garages. There
is virtually no through traffic. The buildings are grouped to give
the occupant a feeling of intimacy and to give privacy to each dwelling.
A sketch map depicting the site plan is attached hereto.
The seven perimeter buildings that
were demolished were on the border streets, Lake Avenue and Frederick Street.
The attached site plan indicates the location of these buildings.
Method of Construction, Size and Significant
Curved walkways lead from the street
into the courtyards and then to the building entrances. These wood-trimmed
stucco buildings are visually distinctive, although there are basically
seven building prototypes:
Many of the two bedroom ground level
units have patios. Nearly all one bedroom units have balconies or
A two story duplex, with an enclosed
staircase at the end of the building connecting the upper apartment and
the lower apartment and running from the front or "inner" courtyard to
the back or "outer" courtyard.
A two story fourplex, with four two
bedroom apartments. One common staircase in the middle of the building
connects the two upstairs apartments, with the two lower apartments.
A two story fourplex, with four one
bedroom apartments, again sharing a single staircase in the middle of the
building which runs from the inner courtyard to the outer courtyard.
A two story fourplex with two one bedroom
and two two bedroom apartments. These two have a common enclosed
staircase in the middle of the building.
A one story bungalow. Each of
these has two bedrooms.
A one story communal laundry building.
A stand alone one story parking structure.
The two story buildings are joined
side by side or at right angles with others to form building blocks, with
the buildings uniquely staggered, decreasing shared wall space, increasing
surfaces for windows, and allowing for visibility of the strong architectural
elements of the windows and balconies. The site plan combines "U,"
"L," "Z," and "C" shaped plans along with linear plans. The
"U" and "C" plans create garden entrance courts. Attached to the
end of most of the "U"-shaped and some of the linear building block structures
is a one-story bungalow. The one-story bungalows provide variation
in height of the buildings, make for a smooth transition to the neighborhood
of one-story single family residences that surround the area, and serve,
in some cases, to further enclose the interior courtyards and in others,
to define corner spaces. Approximately one half of the building blocks
have one-story bungalows attached, which are distributed throughout the
The garages and car ports face the
alleys that run behind the housing courts. There are approximately seven
hundred enclosed garages spaces and carport spaces in the one-story parking
structures. In addition, there are about 23 uncovered off-street
parking spaces along the alleys. There are no fences or other barriers
between the complex and the surrounding community. Patios have low
sitting cement block barriers, as originally designed, but otherwise there
are no fences or other barriers between the apartment building blocks.
Lincoln Place has slightly-pitched
hip roofs with generous overhangs. The roofs are built up with tar
paper, tar and gravel. The façades of many of the buildings are
multi-planed creating visually distinctive buildings. The bold geometric
arrangements of the wood and the stucco framed entrances are varied, providing
additional individual character to each building. Above each
entrance is a large dramatic window or group of windows. These wood
casement windows are in most cases etched or frosted. They provide a flood
of light to the second floor landings and like the wood and/or stucco trimmed
entrances, they too vary in design treatments. The variety of designs
for the windows include, for example:
a large square window;
three narrow horizontal windows;
two narrow vertical windows;
a vertical rectangle next to two small
a vertical row of three small squares;
four small square windows arranged to
form a square; and
for the largest glazed area, a section
of twelve square windows with narrow painted mullions, forming a continuous
opening from above the entry-way to inches from the roof.
The floor plans of the apartments
feature convenient and logical arrangements with rooms of modern proportions,
including a well planned and efficient kitchen, a relatively large living
room, and a hall leading to bedrooms and bath areas. Most of the
apartments, save for the one building block that has been altered, contain
the original hardwood floors, although some are carpeted. Kitchens
and bathrooms contain the original 4-inch ceramic tiles laid in various
two tone color schemes, for example, lime green with lemon yellow or rust
with beige. The kitchens are closed off from the living room by one
door and also feature a service door. One unique feature is two large
windows, which bring in a flood of light into the kitchen. There are built-in
cabinets made of wood and in some units the original built-in breakfast
nook and table remain. Living rooms generally face grassy courtyards
and gardens, and enjoy the generous light provided by large windows.
Two bedroom apartments are fitted with built-in book shelves.
Two-bedroom units have four closets,
one a small walk-in. Most of the one?bedroom units have patios or balconies
overlooking the courtyard, and many ground level two-bedroom units have
patio areas. Bathrooms are equipped with a tiled pullman sink with
a shower over the bathtub and some still have the original glass partition,
with frosted designs that echo the windows above the entrances on some
of the buildings. Walls are of lathe and plaster and all doors are
noise proof slab doors.
Altered Building Block
Until 2001, Lincoln Place was completely
intact. Then one building block was altered, as shown in photograph
#39. It maintains the eave dimensions and roof slope of the original
design. However, the unique façade details of the original
design were eradicated, balconies and bathroom towers were added
thereby interfering with the buildingís original façade, and the
service entrance was closed off. Also, the yard was enclosed, taking
away from the visual impact of the open green plan of the original and
discouraging interaction with neighbors. In the interior of the one
altered building block, the walls between the kitchens and living rooms
were removed and replaced with counters, the original tiles were replaced,
closets were converted to bathrooms and an additional bedroom and bathroom
suites were added.