Silver Lake Roberts apartments by Allyn E. Morris

SILVER LAKE  —  The city's list of historic monuments includes the mid century and modernist works by such well known architects as Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler.  Now, you can add to that list a Silver Lake apartment building designed by Allyn E. Morris. Morris who?

While not as well known as some of L.A. legendary architects, Morris, who lived in Silver Lake, left his mid-century mark on numerous homes and apartments in Echo Park, Highland Park, Glassell Park and Silver Lake. 

His work includes the nine-unit  Roberts Apartments at Griffith Park Boulevard and Landa Street in Silver Lake. The apartments, which step up a hillside, were built in 1965. The property sold in July 2017 for $3.85 million.

Earlier this month, the City Council, following in the footsteps of the Cultural Heritage Commission, voted in favor of declaring The Roberts Apartments a city historic cultural monument. It's the first Morris-designed building to receive such a designation, said Agnes Sibal-von Debschitz, spokeswoman for the Department of Planning.

The building has been described “as an excellent example of a Mid-Century Modern multi-family apartment building," according to its historic landmark nomination. The monument application cited  the building’s cubic window patterns, the use of materials and the simplified exterior as some of the property’s prominent architectural features.

Before starting his own firm, Morris had worked for Lloyd Wright, Risley and Gould, and Daniel, Mann, Johnson, and Mendenhall.

He was eventually recognized by the Los Angeles architecture community “for his sculptural, cubic aesthetic, and cost-effective designs,” according to the monument application.

Author and architectural historian Alan Hess told The L.A. Times that Morris was inspired by the much better known modernist architect, Rudolph Schindler:

“At a time when most Southern California architects were favoring Richard Neutra, Morris was learning from the ideas of Schindler and developing them,” Hess said. “The more mainstream idea was to make simple, rectangular boxes, which were very graceful. But Morris added a complexity to define certain spaces or living areas within the house.”

Morris, who left Los Angeles in the early 1980s, died in 2009 at the age of 87.

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