Hope University Architectural Gems At Risk

Now that's worth keeping...
Now that's worth keeping...

We have it on good authority that when Hope University hightails it from Fullerton to points south, the Exaggerated Modern buildings on their erstwhile campus may be in danger. How come? Because the very entity that built them in the 1960s – CSUF –  is said to be eager to reacquire the property. Based on their recent architectural efforts, a massively overbuilt campus, plus the need to house more students like sardines, the future isn’t too hopeful for the buildings on the Hope U. campus.

Whoa, dudes. Time for class!
Whoa, dudes. Time for class!

The complex of buildings that originally served CSUF as graduate student housing, bookstore, and cinema with their glass walls and soaring roofs have been recognized by many for their architectural value – but never by a governmental entity – and in government land planning thats all that really counts. They have not been recognized by the City, the County, or the State as an historical resource and at present have nothing standing between them and a possible wrecking ball except Fullerton Friends willing to work to preserve them.

Who wants to live in a student warehouse? Nobody.
Who wants to live in a student warehouse? Nobody, that's who.

If we set aside the irony of the CSUF buying back property they once owned, and focus on the aesthetic importance and the sound construction used and the opportunity for creative re-use, we can only conclude that these buildings are worth saving!

Please call State Assemblyman Mike Duvall (714/672-4734) immediately to let him know what you think; e-mail Fullerton City Council members ([email protected]) to let them know that this complex of buildings deserves to be an historic district. Don’t forget to call Chris Norby, County Supervisor at 714/834-3440 to ask for his support.

If you are a member of the heritage group be sure to tell your board that you want these gems of modern architecture preserved – unlike the buildings currently being demolished on Chapman Avenue to make way for the “Jefferson Commons” monstrosity.

WORKING TOGETHER WE CAN SAVE THIS RESOURCE FOR THE PEOPLE OF FULLERTON, ORANGE COUNTY, AND CALIFORNIA!

Wow. Style and substance. Don't see that much anymore...
Wow. Style and substance. Don't see that much anymore...

P.S. We have asked our Arts & Architecture Department to develop an educational post to define just what “Exaggerated Modern” is. We hope (no university) you will stay tuned.

In the way of some more Big Plans?
In the way of some more Big Plans?

CSUF FACULTY HOUSING PROJECT LAYS BIG EGG

What do you call a government project that destroys an historic building, creates an eyesore, accomplishes none of its goals, can’t pay for itself, and requires no accountability on the part of its perpetrators? That’s right gentle readers! A BOONDOGGLE.And so it is with the much ballyhooed University Heights Project meant to provide subsidized (oops, “affordable”) housing for needy CSUF teachers. The University sank millions into this venture by buying property from the BPOE and building them a new lodge on the site of the original, totally Rat Pack cool building. Well, the old building is long gone, the new butt-ugly building is done, and cheapo cookie cutter stucco tract houses jam the ridgeline.

Only problem is nobody wanted to buy these boxes on dinky lots. A covenant that would keep the properties restricted to CSUF personnel was way too limiting for buyers in a plummeting real estate market, so nobody was buying in.

At first sales were restricted to CSUF employees as per plan. Then they were opened to any public employee. When will they be for sale to anybody? Occupancy of one kind or another has been pegged at about 40% although a quick drive through is reminiscent of a trip to Calico or Rhyolite. The word on the street is that the bank has pulled out because the deal can’t pay for itself.The architects of this miserable failure have yet to suffer any of the consequences that a private real estate developer would. Let’s see if we can help. First, there’s Milton Gordon, President of CSUF who must be wondering how come nobody has called him out on this yet. And of course let’s not forget our dear friend Fullerton City Council member and all around buffoon Dick Jones who actually did take credit for it (link to video) ironically unaware of the true fiasco unfolding up on Elk Hill.

There is an object lesson here of course that will no doubt be lost on educrats and befuddled local electeds: stay out of the housing business and kill policies that encourage tax-payer purchased housing subsidies for public employees.