Setting a new precedent at its fall meeting, Alhambra Preservation Group recognized a particularly fine example of mid-century modern architecture as one of the recipients of its 2013 Heritage Home Award. This marks the first time a home of the post-World War II era has been honored by the organization for the integrity of its distinctive architecture.
The post-war period of the mid-twentieth century was characterized by major changes in the fields of architecture and design. Traditional styles were seen as stale and outdated, and Southern California became the epicenter of the modern design movement. Mid-century modern architecture reflects an outlook of post-war optimism, and its designers believed that a forward-looking style could be a vehicle for the creation of a better world. Characterized by the use of new building materials and technologies, these homes, built during the period from 1945 through 1970, featured simplicity and integration with nature. They offered open floor plans and sliding glass doors, encouraging people to go outside and live healthy lives. Many incorporated swimming pools into their private rear gardens.
This award-winning home is located on Palatine Hill, overlooking Emery Park, and was built in 1960 for the Bezzant family by the local contracting firm of Colletta and Edgely. Robert Bezzant was employed as Alhambra’s City Engineer; his wife Elaine, was an artist and educator – in addition to being the mother of their six children. Their four-bedroom home was designed in a post-and-beam style, with floor-to-ceiling windows that bathe the rooms in a flood of natural light and provide a seamless transition from the indoors out. A series of wooden decks and landscaped planting areas surround the backyard swimming pool and spa, thereby increasing the useable living space on this steeply-sloping hillside lot.
Following a complete and very sensitively-done restoration, this Alhambra landmark was purchased in 2009 by its current owner, who fell in love with the integrity of its mid-century design, its integration into the landscape, and its hilltop location.