Architectural marvel or eyesore?
June 4, 2011 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Stonehenge West, a monumental art project and home outside Los Angeles, may be torn down for building code violations.
posted by xowie (24 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I actually believe the place is called "Phonehenge" due to the owner being employed by the phone company for years while he was constructing the complex.
posted by ranchocalamari at 9:33 AM on June 4, 2011


Yeah, Phonehenge West.

The buildings may not be up to code, but it's absurd that the guy is facing the possibility of seven years in prison. What end could possibly be served by imprisoning him?
posted by kenko at 9:39 AM on June 4, 2011


I'm guessing he has violated some court order somewhere, like a "stop all construction". Seems absurd until the court order is a restraining order or something.

Our society does have laws. Not following the mandates of the court does not make the court happy.
posted by Windopaene at 9:44 AM on June 4, 2011


Aerial view.

kenko, it's not like they decided "this guy has to go to prison" -- it's what the charges carry under state law. Felony negligence of building maintenance is usually cited against slumlords, though. In this case he would probably receive a suspended sentence.
posted by dhartung at 9:44 AM on June 4, 2011


kenko, it's not like they decided "this guy has to go to prison" -- it's what the charges carry under state law.

Yes, I know. I'm prepared to say that the charges' being brought in the first place is absurd, if that will help.
posted by kenko at 9:50 AM on June 4, 2011


Many building codes are intensely stupid, but most of the codes do exist for a reason (even if that reason is to allow a 400 pound person to climb your staircase), and you can't just continue to build after a stop-work order drops on your head.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:53 AM on June 4, 2011


Yes Phonehenge sorry - posted before me coffee!
posted by xowie at 10:10 AM on June 4, 2011


This is LA, aka earthquake and fire land. The building codes may be stupid, but they're meant to keep people alive.
posted by FJT at 10:11 AM on June 4, 2011


Yeah I mean. I'd be more sympathetic, but he wants to do things like have a giftshop and a museum and a workshop for disabled children(!). If it goes up in flames or collapses into rubble, he won't necessarily be the only one to die in it.
posted by kavasa at 10:19 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Problems with safety aside, that place is gorgeous.
posted by Sportbilly at 10:20 AM on June 4, 2011


In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history. There lived a strange race of people...the Druids. No one knows who they were, or what they were doing or why they even bothered doing it... but their legacy is being torn down by court order.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:24 AM on June 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hengers gonna henge
posted by zippy at 10:37 AM on June 4, 2011


It has quite a bit of charm, but opening it to the public should make him more responsible for safety. Museums do need fire safety, stair rails, handicap access, etc., and those things are for good reason.

If he was my neighbor, I'd be kind of delighted, but it doesn't lend itself to upkeep or resale, so someday, it may be an unsafe eyesore. I'd love to know if it was really about overzealous code enforcement when the feud started, or if he's really an intransigent eccentric.
posted by theora55 at 10:42 AM on June 4, 2011


I've seen stranger things that adhere to building codes. Yes, it's more expensive to build something "to code" but a structure that's supposed to be accessible to the public, and habitable?

There's a reason the code exists, and it's do people are a lot less likely die when something goes wrong. Acton isn't exactly a long way from the San Andreas fault, either.
posted by chimaera at 10:51 AM on June 4, 2011


*SO people are a lot less likely TO die
posted by chimaera at 10:52 AM on June 4, 2011


It's neat, but it does look a little rickety,, and probably shouldn't be open to the public.. I don't know about tearing it down, what the hell, let him live there. Even if he dd bring it up to code it would probably lose all its charm. Plus, everytime I hear "monumental art project" it translates as "really expensive eyesore."
posted by timsteil at 12:33 PM on June 4, 2011


Electrical code violations are no joke. Personal safety waivers might work for minimizing legal fallout from structural violations, but an electrical fire could impact a much larger area.

If they'd built it to the 18" specs, this would not be a problem.
posted by smirkette at 1:04 PM on June 4, 2011


In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history. There lived a strange race of people...the Druids. No one knows who they were, or what they were doing or why they even bothered doing it... but their legacy is being torn down by court order.

Well maybe if they followed building codes, they wouldn't have all died from fires and walls falling on them.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:12 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know. Usually I'm a fan of flaunting rules and laws, but having been in some awful, scary firetrap "venues" around Brooklyn I'm actually in favor of building codes. It kinda sucks to be in a place and realize that if something bad happens you will die without any chance to escape.
posted by fuq at 8:34 PM on June 4, 2011


A building built to code is the worst possible building the law will allow; this structure doesn't even meet that low bar. The talk about openning it up as public venue, to kids no less, is insanity. I can get on board with people flaunting HOA restrictions and other assorted visual restrictions on many properties but there is extremely rarely any reason to flaunt code rules. Especially considering most codes leave the final legality up to the AHJ so if your code violation is truely needed you can usually get a variance that makes your building legal even if not to the standard code.

I'd love to have that International crew though; what a beauty it would be with some TLC. It's even 4WD.
posted by Mitheral at 10:00 PM on June 4, 2011


so unsafe home is unsafe?
posted by Chekhovian at 10:13 PM on June 4, 2011


To me it just looks like a shed that's got floridly out of control. Give it ten to fifteen years it'll probably look like something that dropped off the edge of a shanty town. Tourists are unfathomable, but it's hard to believe this would ever be a big draw.
posted by Segundus at 12:03 AM on June 5, 2011


From the flickr photoset: Truck. Chicken. Fantastic Four.

Yup, I can totally see where this is going.
posted by sneebler at 6:34 AM on June 5, 2011


It's unconscionable because... OK, as a person who doesn't like to have buildings fall on his head, I'm happy that building codes exist too, and if I had the building inspector's job, I'd have failed this.

Compare and contrast the Rodia towers, which were so strong that they broke the testing apparatus in a test....
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:26 AM on June 5, 2011


« Older Warp Prism...  |  LiberKey is a system for insta... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments