The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission Thursday unanimously recommended for the Historic-Cultural Monument List a Mid- Century Modern home in Mount Washington.
The Dr. Fong Q. and Lorraine Jing Residence’s Mid-Century Modern architectural style with Early Modern influences qualified the house for the list under the criteria that a property “embodies the distinctive characteristics of a style, type, period or method of construction.”
While the nomination was considered for its architectural value, the Department of City Planning‘s recommendation report also noted its history, as well, as the Jing family built the home in the Mount Washington neighborhood because racial covenants and discrimination prevented them from purchasing homes in Glendale and Burbank, closer to the hospital where Jing worked as a radiologist, as well as many L.A. city neighborhoods.
“Dr. Fong and Lorraine Jing were a mixed-race couple. Both born in the United States, both American citizens. He was born to Chinese immigrant parents in California … however, after they married, it was illegal in most areas of Los Angeles for them to purchase a home,” said Virginia Paca, who filed the Historic-Cultural Monument application for the property.
“The Jings did not give up their search for a house. They decided to buy a piece of property and build a house because no one else would sell them one.”
The one-story home with sweeping views of the San Gabriel Mountains was designed in 1958 by architect William Earl Wear for the Jings.
The property’s Mid-Century Modern elements include a flat roof with wide overhanging eaves, full-height windows, unornamented surfaces and intersecting geometric volumes. It also features characteristics that connect it to the outdoors, as well as built-in furniture and cabinetry, an open floor plan and horizontal massing. Other characteristic features include its connection to the outdoors, built-in furniture and cabinetry, an open plan and horizontal massing.
The Department of City Planning’s recommendation report for the property also noted Early Modern architectural tenets like natural materials, bands of casement windows, dramatic cantilever and close relationship to its site demonstrate Early Modern architectural.
“In (Wear’s) final design, he incorporated all of the elements of (Frank Lloyd Wright’s) organic architecture, but in a manner that was new and unique to California,” Paca told commissioners.
Commission President Barry Milofsky said that he wasn’t aware of William Earl Wear, but that he was “totally impressed by what I’ve seen so far and images I’ve seen posted online from other properties he’s done. This is a rare example of an incredibly well-designed house.”
The property’s current owner, John Gray, said he supports the designation and wants to put a description of the property’s history on the bottom of the driveway.