Photo by Julius Shulman © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)
More than two acres high above the Sunset Strip
The long-time home of Los Angeles architect Bernard Judge and the expansive property it sits on in the Hollywood Hills are up for sale.
The property occupies 2.3 acres above the celebrity-favored Bird Streets. The size of the property and the $4.75 million price tag are likely to attract a buyer looking to use the land on which to build.
The residence was completed in 1975 by Judge as his private residence. Judge received a patent for the structural system he created while designing the house, which hangs off the hill. The dwelling holds two bedrooms and one bathroom, and measures just over 1,000 square feet—much more modest than the newer homes that occupy the area.
Blaine Mallory, Judge’s wife, acknowledges that the listing is mainly a land sale, though she tells Curbed that she and Judge hope that the buyer preserves the house. The listing suggest that “the architecturally significant structure could be an ideal ADU to a new property.”
Mallory says she and Judge are selling their home because the house’s two-story format and stairs are not ideal for the now-88-year-old architect.
As often happens when an architecturally interesting property is about to change hands, some preservationists have begun to strategize about potentially landmarking the Judge house. But Mallory says she hopes they don’t.
“We appreciate that people love the house,” Mallory says. “We do too.” But, she adds, she and Judge would be “upset” if anything happened that could potentially complicate the sale of the property.
“We’re older,” she says. “We have to move ahead.”
Mallory says Judge bought the land in 1968—a few years after he built a bubble-like dome house on Beachwood Drive—and has lived on the property since the home’s completion in 1975.
It was conceived as “a way to find the most you can do with the least,” Judge told the Los Angeles Times in 1977. Judge had come up with the structural concept he later patented while attempting to design a treehouse-style hunting lodge in Kenya.
That Africa project never came to fruition, and Judge built his house in the hills of Los Angeles instead. At the time, he imagined that the building technique, which rests the house on four steel piers driven into the hillside, could be used to reduce the cost of building housing, as it would allow for construction on hillsides thought to be unbuildable and did not require “massive earth-moving,” the Times wrote.
Judge received awards from the American Institute of Architects and Sunset magazine for his design. He went on to serve on the city’s cultural heritage commission and was a key figure in the movement to save Rudolph Schindler’s Kings Road house, now the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in West Hollywood.