Monday, May 18, 2009

Save La Ronda!

Recently while reading the Elements of Style blog I came across the plea to save La Ronda. I have to admit I had no idea what La Ronda was, but I instantly recognized the building as one that was designed by Addison Mizner, the famous architect, as his last commission in 1929. The current owners, who wisely are remaining anonymous (trust me, they'd be getting numerous phone calls and emails from me otherwise!) wish to tear down this architectural treasure for something slightly smaller, more modern and 'with air conditioning'. Seriously - tear down a gem so you can get something as basic as air conditioning. With a little ingenuity and a good architect & mechanical engineer you could have AC anyway. NEWS FLASH -that is not an excuse to tear this place down. And I have to ask -why did you buy it in the first place?
image courtesy of 'road less trvled' on flickr.com
Admittedly the house is immense, measuring in at 14,000 sf and at one time had 27 servants to tend to it. That can't be easy to take care of I'm sure- but look at what you're taking care of!The house is filled with beautiful details that are painstaking to reproduce and rarely are. The house was $3,000,000 to build back in the 20s (more than what the current owner paid for it) -imagine what it would cost today? Tear it down? What?!
A grass roots effort has started to save the mansion through their local conservancy group, Lower Merion Conservancy and a cause that I support annually, The National Trust for Historic Preservation. I'll let you know if something comes through that we can help save this place. Currently it looks like the only way to save it is for a conservation minded purchaser to step forward. I've contacted numerous members of the local commission and they all say any buyer who intends to keep the mansion intact has their full support. The current owner paid only $2.5 million for the mansion, how much do you think it will take to make them release it from their deadly grasp?
Watch a video that sums up the mansions plight nicely HERE.
Learn more about Addison Mizner HERE
Images where not credited are from the Philly.com article which you can read HERE.

17 comments:

Style Redux 2 said...

I am in shock-I went to Bryn Mawr College undergrad and I know this house well. This is insanity. I hope these fools can be stopped.

Kwana said...

This story has broken my heart. A house like that is the house of my dreams. It's like tearing down a church. Just terrible. It must be saved. I'll now have nightmares tonight.

MaryBeth said...

I live in the next town over and trust me the people bought it for the land. It is impossible to get 3.5 acres for that price. They probably won't sell for less than double the money, if at all. It is a shame to see these places go. MB

Paris Atelier said...

What a crime! Hopefully the owners will sell it. There should be some laws to protect a beautiful and historic building like this one (aren't there any)? What a shame. PLease keep us posted if there is anything we can do! Short of showing up on their front lawn with some fans and cooling devices, really, for air conditoning!?!
xoxo
Judith~

Purple Flowers said...

Please keep us updated.

allie in g'town said...

Ahhh...I recognize those Palm Beach aesthetics.

Style Redux 2 said...

From my reading, it is really the fault of the Township government. Had it been classified a Class 1 historic place, it could not be torn down. Now it is too late.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Yes, Beth, but it was just a private home and totally under the radar. Hopefully this will make them take action with other significant properties and change their classification!
Allie, isn't this totally unexpected in the suburbs of Philly?! Like you say -most of Mizner's work is in Florida!

Richie's 2ts Inspires said...

I glided in here while browsing the whole bloglandia today.

Am home for a rehab after an ops, so I did have time blogging.

WoW, such a young and talented. I really like your thoughts.

TY for sharing!

Style Court said...

So unexpected in PA!

little augury said...

So sad,I am not surprised about the posted comment of purchase for land. I am in shock about the lovely homes being torn down that are tin-ee in comparison to this.They will scale down to 10,000 or something small like that.Isn't it all about the gigantic baths, kitchens(that people use microwaves in only- or eat out) wine cellars(where often cartons of wine can be found in the fridges, I could go on- Stop me. It reminds me of the quote- if only people with taste would aquire money and the monied aquire taste. (paraphrasing from John Saladino)G

pve design said...

I like happy endings. I hope la Ronda has a happy ever after ending. I could see the right person restoring this as a museum.
pve

allie in g'town said...

Swing by today for a small shout out...

Anonymous said...

Developers are greedy monsters! They rape the landscape of it's natural beauty, destroy any special or unique architecture that gets in their way and leave behind piles of sh*t architecture for the rest of us to deal with....

Abby said...

You love Elements of Style...I love Elements of Style! Erin, DC is warmer than Boston, you should come here!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, La Ronda is gone. It was demoilished at the end of 2009. Whether this significant loss has galvinized the Lower Merion preservation community to secure Class 1 designation for more historic buildings remains to be seen. One can only hope that the social-climbing Kestenbaums - who are singularly responsible for this travesty - will become Main Line piriahs.

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that someone would purchase this beautiful home only to destroy it. All is not lost though, what was salvaged from the home is being sold through "Olde Good Things". Too bad it couldn't be rebuilt using some of the original material.