Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Frank Israel

Gay Architect to the Stars

After traveling to Italy and working on the East Coast, Frank Israel (1945-1996) moved to Los Angeles in 1979. He taught at the School of Architecture at the University of California at Los Angeles and designed sets for Paramount movies (“Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and “Night Games”), private houses for a number of prominent gay and straight Hollywood figures and offices for independent film production companies. One of the "Santa Monica" architects, he was responsible for the Art Pavilion in Beverly Hills (1991) and the Fine Arts Facility at the University of California at Riverside (1994 - see photo at right). Among the private homes he designed were those of Robert Altman, Joel Grey, and talent agent Howard Goldberg and partner Jim Bean (photo at end of post).

The 1991 Goldberg-Bean residence ((2029 Castilian Dr. in West Hollywood) was a landmark re-design of a ranch house as a series of pavilions linked by a long, blue curvilinear wall. Each of the pavilions faces toward a specific view of downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, or Santa Monica. He used unusual materials: lead coated copper panels, mustard-yellow pigmented stucco, and fir plywood with redwood battens against concrete block walls.

The Eames Office (photo at right) at 901 Washington Blvd. in Venice Beach was used by Charles and Ray Eames from 1943 until Ray's death in 1988, when the building required extensive earthquake proofing. The husband and wife designers worked for decades from this renovated garage, and their enduring classic "Eames chair" was designed in this office. The building still stands after extensive remodeling of the interior and facade by Frank Israel. The street name, however, has been changed, so the current address is 901 Abbot Kinney Boulevard.

In 1979, he also designed the first of a kind of building in which he would excel, offices for independent movie production companies. These included the headquarters for Propaganda Films, designed in 1988, and for Limelight Productions and Virgin Records, both designed in 1991.

Once diagnosed with HIV, Israel worked hard to be imaginative and distinctive. He took greater risks in the profession and began educating people about living with AIDS. He is survived by his long-time companion, Thomas Haase.

1991 Goldberg-Bean residence in West Hollywood

No comments:

Post a Comment