Chris Pratt draws ire for razing historic 1950 LA home for sprawling mansion | Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt has drawn ire from architecture aficionados after news broke that the actor and his wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger, razed a historic, mid-century modern home to make way for a sprawling 15,000-sq-ft mansion.

Last year, the couple purchased the 1950 Zimmerman house, designed by the architect Craig Ellwood, in Los Angeles’s Brentwood neighborhood for $12.5m. The residence, with landscaping by Garrett Eckbo – who has been described as the pioneer of modern landscaping – had previously been featured in Progressive Architecture magazine.

It was most recently home to the late Hilda Rolfe, the widow of Sam Rolfe, co-creator of the series The Man from Uncle. Video of the property from December 2022 shows a light-filled home that appears to have been well-preserved, with large windows, wood floors and mid-century furniture.

The single-story home and its grounds have since been cleared and in its place will be a massive home in the modern farmhouse style that has come to dominate US suburbs.

The lot once occupied by the home designed by Craig Ellwood. Photograph: Adriene Biondo

Architect Ken Ungar, whose portfolio largely features high-end modern farmhouse-style residences, will design a home for the couple, Architectural Digest reported. The property, which is just across the street from Schwarzenegger’s mother, Maria Shriver, will also feature a three-car garage and a secondary unit near the pool.

The Los Angeles Conservancy, a non-profit that seeks to save and protect historic buildings, warned of the pending demolition in January and said that the residence appeared “to be highly intact and a noteworthy example of modernist design from this era”.

The city’s SurveyLA program had identified the property as potentially historic, but no protections were afforded, the conservancy wrote on Instagram.

The interior of the home in 1953. Photograph: Julius Schulman/J Paul Getty Trust, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles

The Eichler Network, which covers mid-century homes in California, lamented the destruction.

“At the same time as architectural homes are being marketed as high-end, collectible art, others are being torn down to build new,” the writer Adriene Biondo said. “Perhaps a historic-cultural monument designation could have saved the Zimmerman house, or allowed the necessary time to delay demolition. Tragically, calls for preservation fell on deaf ears.”

Chris Pratt and his wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger, have faced criticism from architecture enthusiasts for demolishing a historic mid-century modern home to construct a massive 15,000-sq-ft mansion. The couple purchased the 1950 Zimmerman house, designed by architect Craig Ellwood, in Los Angeles’s Brentwood neighborhood for $12.5 million. The residence, known for its landscaping by Garrett Eckbo, had been featured in Progressive Architecture magazine and was previously owned by Hilda Rolfe, the widow of The Man from Uncle co-creator Sam Rolfe. Despite the home’s well-preserved condition, it was cleared to make way for a modern farmhouse-style property designed by architect Ken Ungar. The pending demolition of the potentially historic property, which had been identified by the city’s SurveyLA program, was met with concern from organizations like the Los Angeles Conservancy and the Eichler Network. The destruction of architectural gems like the Zimmerman house raises questions about the balance between preserving historic buildings and embracing new developments.