Resource Description

Resource Summary

Names
Platform House Historic District (Primary)
Resource Types
District
Important Dates
No dates recorded
Keywords (Subjects)
Post World War II
stilt house
Stone Fisher Construction Company
Art Levine
hillside
1960s
Richard Neutra

Location Information

Addresses
Location Description
No descriptions recorded
Administrative Areas
Sherman Oaks - Studio City - Toluca Lake - Cahuenga Pass Community Plan Area (Community Plan Area)
Los Angeles City Council District 4 (Council District)
SHERMAN OAKS NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL (Neighborhood Council)
SHERMAN OAKS NEIGHBORHOOD (Neighborhood)

Classification

Classification
No classifications recorded
Related Features
No features recorded

Resource Descriptions

General Description
The Platform House Residential Historic District consists of 17 one-story "platform" or stilt houses, along a short stretch of Oakfield Drive, a winding hillside road near Mulholland Drive in Sherman Oaks. Sited on narrow, steeply-sloped lots, the 2000-square-foot houses are suspended over the canyon, resting on steel platforms which are supported on a system of diagonally-braced steel poles set in concrete footings. The residences are set at the sidewalk and span nearly the full width of their lots. The street-facing facades are plain, sometimes windowless, while canyon-facing facades exhibit large banks of windows that capture panoramic views of the surrounding hills and the San Fernando Valley beyond. Of the 17 properties, 14 are contributors to the district, or approximately 82 percent; three are non-contributors due to extensive alterations.

Summary of Significance
The Platform House Residential Historic District is significant as a unique example of hillside residential design and for exhibiting technological innovations in engineering as applied to the modern hillside architecture of the San Fernando Valley. The period of significance is 1962 to 1966, when all of the residences were constructed. Although these parcels were first subdivided in 1927, the challenge posed by their size and hillside topography appears to have discouraged development for several decades, as the land remained unimproved until the 1960s. At that time, the subdivision was developed by the Stone Fisher Construction Company, with homes designed by renowned Modern architect Richard Neutra and structural engineer Art Levine. Promotions of the tract showcased Neutra as "one of the world's foremost architects," as well as the uniqueness of the tract, which offered "a limited number" of homes "for aware people." Describing Neutra's designs for the subdivision, Sherman Oaks architect Jerry L. Pollak said Neutra "fit the site, he didn't fight it." Pollack described that Neutra "wanted his houses to fit in with nature, for the trees in the canyon to grow under and around them. He didn't dig into the hillside or put in big retaining walls." This collection of platform houses has been featured in the Los Angeles Times on several occasions. In 1997, a reporter focused on the district as an example of the property type itself, writing that approximately 1,500 stilt houses had "accumulated on the hillsides of Los Angeles from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s." In the mid- to late-1960s, changing building regulations, among other factors, contributed to a decline in construction of platform houses. Still intact, the Platform House Residential Historic District remains as one of Los Angeles's most unique and cohesive examples of how engineering innovations were harnessed for modern hillside development.


External System References

SurveyLA ID: e93dda75-a47b-470d-8a25-0e4d78e84932

Resource Significance

Evaluation Details

Date Evaluated
2012-08-22
Context/Theme
Architecture and Engineering, 1850-1980
Engineering, 1900-1985
Technological Developments in Construction, 1900-1985
Hill Houses, 1920-1985
Residential
District
Eligibility Standards
  • District as a whole should retain integrity of Location, Setting, Design, Workmanship, Feeling, and Materials
  • Contributors to a district may have a greater degree of alteration than individually significant properties
  • Surrounding landscape should retain original slope
  • As a whole, retains the essential physical and character-defining features from the period of significance
  • May be associated with noted designers and architects of the period
  • Overall, district is characterized by narrow, winding streets, often without sidewalks or curbs
  • Is an excellent grouping of residences designed and engineered to adapt to the terrain and build sites
  • Was developed during the period of significance
  • Integrity Aspects
    Retains sufficient integrity to convey significance
    Feeling
    Setting
    Design
    Location
    California Historic Resources Status Codes (explanation of codes)
    3S
    5S3
    3CS
    Significance Statement
    Excellent and unique collection of mid-century stilt houses in Sherman Oaks.
    Periods of Significance
    From: 1962-01-01
    To: 1966-12-31

    Related Resources

    Related Historic Resources

    3737 N OAKFIELD DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3637 N OAKFIELD DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3625 N OAKFIELD DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3733 N OAKFIELD DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3712 N KNOBHILL DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3658 N KNOBHILL DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3723 N OAKFIELD DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3752 N KNOBHILL DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3801 N OAKFIELD DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3715 N OAKFIELD DR (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    3831 N OAKFIELD DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3811 N OAKFIELD DR (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    3707 N OAKFIELD DR (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    3666 N KNOBHILL DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3850 N KNOBHILL DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3749 N OAKFIELD DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    3853 N OAKFIELD DR (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)

    Related Historic Districts

    None

    Related Activities

    None

    Related Historic Events

    None

    Related People/Organizations

    Historic Resources Group (Surveying Firm, was surveyed by / surveyed)

    Related Information Resources