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Need inspiration? Look no further than this wood-and-glass-clad home

November 3, 2008 |  1:53 pm

A cultural monument

As you may recall, Pasadena's Art Center College of Design is in the market for a new president, for reasons we've covered here, here and here. While Culture Monster hasn't the chutzpah to tell the school's search committee where to look, we do know of a place where they might meet, at least once, to soak up an inspirational vibe.

That would be the former Silver Lake home of Edward A. "Tink" Adams, Art Center's founder, which L.A. city officials certified earlier this year as a historic-cultural monument. A report by the Cultural Heritage Commission, along with the current owners' application for historic status, details the attributes of the wood-and-glass-clad home on West Cove Avenue.

Adams founded Art Center in 1930. When he and his wife, Virginia, bought the Silver Lake property in 1942, it contained a bungalow built in 1906. Retaining part of the original house, Adams built a bigger home. In 1965, he retired as Art Center's president and became chairman of its board. The following year, he did an almost complete renovation of his house, hiring architect A. Albert Cooling, a longtime Art Center instructor.

Cooling died during the design process, and in 1977 Adams brought in James De Long, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, to finish the job by creating a new master bedroom wing. Work didn't begin immediately, and the bedroom wasn't completed until 1983, two years after Adams' death at age 83.

In granting historic status, which can yield a tax break if owners agree to meet preservationist upkeep standards, city officials cited the Adams home as a strong example of International Style architecture. It incorporates Japanese elements in its roof design, and in a surrounding Japanese garden festooned with statues sculpted by Art Center students.

Given how contentious the mood was as Art Center students, alumni and administrators clashed last spring over the school's direction, maybe some calm and clarity would come from putting on a thinking cap while strolling the gardens at the founding father's homestead.

-- Mike Boehm

Photo: Edward A. "Tink" Adams House in Silver Lake. Credit: Charles J. Fisher