Chris Pratt draws ire for razing historic 1950 LA home for sprawling mansion

Estimated read time 2 min read

Chris Pratt has drawn ire from architecture aficionados after news broke that the actor and his wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger, had razed a historic, mid-century modern home to make way for a sprawling 15,000-sq-ft mansion.

Last year, the couple purchased the 1950 Zimmerman house, designed by the architect Craig Ellwood, in Los Angeles’s Brentwood neighborhood for $12.5m. The residence, with landscaping by Garrett Eckbo – who has been described as the pioneer of modern landscaping – had previously been featured in Progressive Architecture magazine.

It was most recently home to the late Hilda Rolfe, the widow of Sam Rolfe, co-creator of the series The Man from Uncle. Video of the property from December 2022 shows a light-filled home that appears to have been well-preserved, with large windows, wood floors and mid-century furniture.

The single-story home and its grounds have since been cleared and in its place will be a massive home in the modern farmhouse style that has come to dominate US suburbs.

A completely flat area that has obviously been razed, surrounded by trees.View image in fullscreen

Architect Ken Ungar, whose portfolio largely features high-end modern farmhouse-style residences, will design a home for the couple, Architectural Digest reported. The property, which is just across the street from Schwarzenegger’s mother, Maria Shriver, will also feature a three-car garage and a secondary unit near the pool.

The Los Angeles Conservancy, a non-profit that seeks to save and protect historic buildings, warned of the impending demolition in January and said that the residence appeared “to be highly intact and a noteworthy example of modernist design from this era”.

The city’s SurveyLA program had identified the property as potentially historic, but no protections were afforded, the conservancy wrote on Instagram.

A black-and-white photo of a one-story ranch-style home with floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows looking onto a yard.View image in fullscreen

The Eichler Network, which covers mid-century homes in California, lamented the destruction.

“At the same time as architectural homes are being marketed as high-end, collectible art, others are being torn down to build new,” the writer Adriene Biondo said. “Perhaps a historic-cultural monument designation could have saved the Zimmerman house, or allowed the necessary time to delay demolition. Tragically, calls for preservation fell on deaf ears.”


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