Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Early 60s Tiki Mosaic

Argghhh! Can't believe I forgot Mosaic Monday!

And there is no holiday to blame it on. Well, I did get called before noon to pick up a sick grandchild from school which necessitated picking up a car seat in the pouring rain, blah, blah, blah. Bottom line--that took a couple hours and broke up my day. SO I'll blame my forgetfulness on that. If I need to blame it on something. 'Cause I sure don't want to cop to just being forgetful.

This mosaic is found on the Clubhouse Building of New Horizons in Torrance, a senior "area." It's not closed or gated, so I don't want to call it a complex. It's just a subdivision full of apartments, recreation areas, parking lots and streets that rents exclusively to those over 55.

I could live there. Gulp.

I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Hmph. Do they still teach Prufrock in Junior High?

Anyway, this subdivision-for-seniors opened in October 1964.

This is a mosaic. I know from the street it looks like a woven piece, maybe even burlap, but here is a close up that shows the tile work.

The Clubhouse sits on Maple Ave., and New Horizons spreads around it on Nadine Circle. I discovered the place (well, sort of. I knew it was there but never had to pay attention) when I canvased for my candidate in 2008. The addresses made no sense and drove me nuts, but my candidate won anyway. Yay!

Finally, here is a newspaper photo from the 60s showing the clubhouse--a gigantic Polynesian A-Frame.  Tiki Architecture, where I found this picture, and a lot more information, says that it's an 80-acre development and the architect was Ray Watt of Southland Builders. There are also tons of pictures.

Ray Watt built over 100,000 homes and 50 shopping centers in the Southland from 1947 into the 90s. He had a huge influence, even served as Assistant Secretary of Housing & Urban Development in the Nixon administration, and lived to be 90 years old. Here's his obituary, posted by USC.

The mosaic was there from the start. Scroll down on the Tiki Architecture link, and you'll find a sketch of the clubhouse entrance and mosaic by the designer, Selected Interiors (drab name; what were they thinking?), and a description of the place. It's 10,000 square feet with a 10-foot high fireplace.

I found a lot more about this clubhouse than I thought I would, but nothing about the mosaic designer. Oh, well.

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