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Monumental Dilemma

March 05, 1989

Kudos for Allan Parachini's fine article on Greene and Greene ("Living the Legacy," Feb. 19). This excellent account of the "problems of owning and living in an art object" illustrates a dilemma we have recently decided to address. This institute (Institute for Survival through Design, formerly the Richard J. Neutra Institute) has created a project titled the Preservation of the Urban Historic Heritage.

We are conducting research into possible incentives for owners of such properties to find reasons to preserve them in their original spirit, and in some form find support from the public sector, which tends to put them on lists, only to then let them fend for themselves and put impediments in the way of freedom of action and a pall on resale.

A quick view of the current list of "monuments" of the Cultural Heritage Commission of the City of Los Angeles, reveals too large a number of sites where some important structure once stood. The idea here is not just to put things on lists, but to secure their preservation. At present, being listed basically buys a one-year moratorium on demolition; not a sufficient result for the amount of effort involved.

Fifty saved of 200 Greene and Greenes is not a meritorious record.

DION NEUTRA

Los Angeles

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