Open House Obsession: Gregory Ain's 1947 Avenal Apartments, Built For Socialists

Here's an opportunity to see one of Los Angeles' key post-WWII architectural and social monuments, designed by architect Gregory Ain in 1947 and open on Sunday.

2847 Avenal Avenue, Silverlake/Echo Park $700K
It's not everyday you get to see some sublimely simple late-40's Modernist design, designed for people who would later be ruthlessly hunted down. The Avenal Apartments have their own Wikipedia entry: "Of the ten original members of the cooperative, at least four were blacklisted or questioned by the House Un-American Activities Committee, leading to the conclusion that the project was "a cooperative living experiment for a group of communists." The complex of ten single-level apartments was designed by Los Angeles mid-century minimalist Gregory Ain for the group, all of whom were both progressive politically and interested in modern design.
It's not everyday you get to see some sublimely simple late-40's Modernist design, designed for socially-concious idealists who would later be ruthlessly hunted down.
The Avenal Apartments have their own Wikipedia entry: "Of the ten original members of the cooperative, at least four were blacklisted or questioned by the House Un-American Activities Committee, leading to the conclusion that the project was "a cooperative living experiment for a group of communists." The complex of ten single-level apartments was designed by Los Angeles mid-century minimalist Gregory Ain for the group, all of whom were both progressive politically and interested in modern design.
The units tend to be incredibly simple– after all, they were never built for the rich, but for modest progressives and intellectuals who believed in good design, with the kind of Utopian ideals that spurred a number of Modernist projects around Los Angeles.
This 2-bed, 1-bath unit looks to be in great original condition, with Ain's built-in kitchen and storage intact. We looked at another unit in the Avenal Apartments last year, sensitively renovated by architect Michael Folonis. They're the perfect setting for Modernist clutter:
Today, the Avenal Apartments is the National Register of Historic Places. Units come on the market every few years, and despite their design, pedigree and location, they don't sell quickly or for a lot of money– which we attribute to in part to their lack of air conditioning. Listed just three weeks ago, one's back on the market after a potential buyer backed out. Open Sunday, July 29 from 2:00PM to 5:00PM.

 

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