Craig Ellwood’s Bel Air Case Study House No. 16 goes up for sale

Craig Ellwood’s Bel Air Case Study House No. 16 goes up for sale

Craig Ellwood's Case Study House No. 16 just hit the market for $2.9 million. (Matthew Momberger)

From 1945 to 1966, Arts & Architecture magazine ran the Case Study House program, a radical experiment in American residential architecture which commissioned major architects to design and build efficient and affordable model homes to accommodate the postwar housing boom. Modest in size compared to its local counterparts, the 1,750-square-foot Case Study House No. 16 in Bel Air has been put on the market for $2.9 million by Aaron Kirman, Dalton Gomez, and Weston Littlefield of Compass. 

The magazine commissioned over 30 homes during the program, designed by architects including Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eero Saarinen. Completed in 1953, the Case Study House No. 16 was one of three that engineer Craig Ellwood built for the program. According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, it is the only intact example of his designs, as the No. 17 and 18 have both been drastically remodeled. While the home, a city landmark, had its floors replaced 50 years ago, the building is largely in its original condition. 

The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home is an archetypal example of midcentury modern architecture, with its modular steel and concrete construction, expansive walls of glass, fir siding, natural rock fireplace, and cantilevered roof. It sits perched atop a Bel Air hillside, offering broad views of the city while appearing as a floating glass pavilion from the street. A wall of frosted glass surrounds the home and provides a level of privacy for the otherwise completely transparent house. 

The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in July 2013 for its significant association with the Case Study House Program, the “innovative use of exposed steel structural framing,” and it’s “high level of integrity of design, materials, and workmanship” according to the 2013 NRHP registration form. This is the first time the home has been on the market in 50 years.