New state architect left his mid-century mark on Echo Park

Chester A. Widom, who was recently appointed State Architect of California, is best known for designing large commercial and institutional buildings, including the Autry Museum in Griffith Park. But early in his career, Widom, now 71, designed an Echo Park duplex that dangles off a hillside where Morton Avenue bends sharply and turns into Avon Street.  The box-like building, featured in the 2003 Historic Echo Park Home Tour, rests on metal stilts, revealing the steep slope underneath the house.  Stunning views but unsettling for anyone who likes living close to the ground.


  1. Yuk! They look like state office buildings

  2. It’s interesting that the house next door built by Co Architects 4 years ago is considered “contemporary architecture” but doesn’t suggest a single new idea is possible in the intervening 50-60 years.

  3. I totally agree with you Roberto. Mid Century indeed.

  4. they look like they are falling apart .

  5. They made the guy who designed those sh!tboxes as the State Architect?! Aren’t architects supposed to design? I really don’t see much design in that house.

    @roberto, very interesting point. And spot on.

  6. The negative comments placed here reflect: “Pearls before swine”, or an all too common Ludition/Snobism expressed by too many want to be intellectuals in Echo Park. There is a subtlty in these buildings that generally escapes most; I have been inside both buildings and have met and spoke with both owners over the years…the home on the right, by the way, was conceptualized by the late Mr. Cummings over many years and is beautiful and efficient.

    So…I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or, in the case of Echo Park, not the beerholder, but too often the lateholder.

    David Buchman

  7. P.S. I don’t think Mr. Wisdom designed the late Mr. Glenn Cummings’ home on the right. Mr. Cummings was an industrial arts/drafting teacher at Fairfax High during the 50’s and 60’s. If Mr. Wisdom, now 71 designed that home, he would have been, likely under age 25! Or a teenager. I believe Mr. Cummings designed that home along with some high school students as a practical project for learning and for creating a paractical abode for his then young family. So…again, I reiterate, we have a case here (critiques) of “pearls before swine”…too many just don’t get it, IMO, too many figure that if the home is old and complicated and needs lots of care, (e.g. wooden siding and moldings) it must be “good”, but if more suits are modern ways of living, it is somehow bad. Neither is true, both depend upon, IMO, the integrity represented…and, traditionally, is the carpentry “shoddy” or “slick”…workmanship does not skip eras…and, IMO, the home on the right deserves kudos for being groundbreaking and to have served a then young teacher and his then young family quite well. So…go drink a late’ if you are pissed w/my opinion, I’ll have a diet Dr. Pepper, thank you!

  8. talk about wannabe intellectuals.. Ludition isn’t a word, dork. And “shoddy” and “slick” don’t need quotes and a million other painful mistakes in your errant verbal jam…

    “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”

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