Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger Face Backlash for Demolishing Historic Los Angeles Home

Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger face backlash for demolishing a historically significant midcentury modern home in Los Angeles, raising concerns about the preservation of culturally important architecture.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger Face Backlash for Demolishing Historic Los Angeles Home

Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger Face Backlash for Demolishing Historic Los Angeles Home

Hollywood couple Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger have come under fire for demolishing a historically significant midcentury modern home in Los Angeles known as the Zimmerman House. The 1950s villa, designed by renowned architect Craig Ellwood, was widely recognized as an architectural treasure and had potential historical value, according to the city's SurveyLA program.

Pratt and Schwarzenegger purchased the Brentwood property in an off-market sale for $12.5 million in 2023. Despite the home's well-preserved condition and recognition by preservationists, the couple swiftly demolished the existing structure to make way for their own 15,000-square-foot modern farmhouse-style estate, designed by architect Ken Ungar.

The Zimmerman House held historical significance as the former residence of Hilda Rolfe, the widow of TV series co-creator Sam Rolfe. Ellwood's design was considered a noteworthy example of modernist architecture, and the original landscaping was by modernist legend Garrett Eckbo.

Why this matters: The demolition of the Zimmerman House highlights the ongoing struggle between preserving historically significant architecture and the desires of wealthy homeowners to build their dream homes. It raises questions about the effectiveness of current preservation efforts and the need for stronger protections for culturally important buildings.

Preservationists and architecture enthusiasts have expressed outrage over the loss of this historic midcentury home. The Los Angeles Conservancy and other preservation groups have criticized the couple's decision to raze the house entirely rather than attempting to incorporate the existing structure into their plans or putting the property on the open market, where it could have attracted buyers interested in restoring it.

"The demolition of the Zimmerman House is devastating," said Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy for the Los Angeles Conservancy. "This was a well-preserved example of Craig Ellwood's early work that should have been protected. The new owners had an opportunity to add to the existing footprint, but instead they chose to start from scratch, erasing an important piece of architectural history."

Social media users have also voiced their disappointment, with comments describing the demolition as "neglectful" and questioning why the couple did not do more to preserve the home. Pratt and Schwarzenegger have not publicly addressed the backlash surrounding their decision to demolish the Zimmerman House.

Key Takeaways

  • Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger demolished a historic midcentury modern home in LA.
  • The Zimmerman House, designed by architect Craig Ellwood, was recognized as an architectural treasure.
  • The couple purchased the property for $12.5M and replaced it with a 15,000-sq-ft modern farmhouse.
  • Preservationists criticized the decision to raze the house instead of incorporating the existing structure.
  • The demolition highlights the ongoing tension between preserving historic architecture and building new homes.