Ray Bradbury Center Supportive of Mayne’s Changes to Bradbury’s Former Home

Ray Bradbury circa 1972. Photo by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Archive
Ray Bradbury circa 1972. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Archive

News broke this week that the former Cheviot Hills home of the late Ray Bradbury has been torn down to make way for a new home for the property’s new owner, the architect Thom Mayne. While some mourn the loss of the celebrated Sci-fi writer’s creative lair, others see promise in the changes, among them Jonathan R. Eller, Director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Editor of the Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury, at the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts in Indianapolis. Both Bradbury and Mayne are known as futurists, and Eller told DnA “an abiding interest in the history of this property will carry on with the new owner.” He wrote the following to the noted architect:

I wanted to thank you for the care you are taking with some of the “bones” of the Bradbury home, which I understand will be reworked into wood projects in the future. I also want to let you know how pleased I am that you are planning a home for your family on this historic lot. I think Mr. Bradbury would be glad to know that an architect owns the property (he was a lay visionary in urban architecture who occasionally worked with Jon Jerde on projects in the 1970s). He also worked with young writers in much the same way that you have taken time in your distinguished career to teach and encourage young architects. It’s sad to see the Old Yellow House go, but there is also great promise in this new beginning.

I think you might like to know that we are re-creating Mr. Bradbury’s basement office here at the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies on Indiana University’s Indianapolis campus (IUPUI). Through a gracious gift of artifacts by the Bradbury family, we now have the papers, working library, office furniture, and many of the awards and mementos from the Cheviot Drive house. It’s a bit of a logistics and funding challenge, but we make a little progress every day.

Ray Bradbury House
Ray Bradbury’s Cheviot Hills home, as displayed on Results Real Estate Group

UPDATE:

Since publication of the note, above, DnA received the following addendum from Jonathan Eller, pursuant to further reporting on the demolition of Ray Bradbury’s home.

I would like to clarify the reporting of recent days concerning the Bradbury Center’s support of Thom Mayne’s plans for Ray Bradbury’s Cheviot Hills home in Los Angeles. I was never in favor of demolishing the Bradbury home; until last week, I had no idea who the new owner was, or what he planned for the home. When I received pictures of the house being torn down, I found out who the new owner was and I learned all I could about his plans.  I was impressed by his decision to preserve the fine details of woodwork for charity donation. I was impressed that he was planning to live in the new house, rather than build and sell it. I later learned that he would be building a low-profile, garden-and-wall home that would prominently honor Ray Bradbury’s legacy on that property. I subsequently supported Thom Mayne’s planning going forward, not because he demolished the Bradbury home, but because I knew he planned to honor Ray Bradbury’s memory in a significant and enduring way.
The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies exists to extend the Bradbury legacy, and to provide extensive research sources and public outreach for scholars, students, and the general public. We are fortunate to have archives and artifacts here at IUPUI in Indianapolis that will allow us to re-create Ray Bradbury’s basement office as it existed for decades in his Cheviot Hills home. It takes the work of many people from all over the country to realize that dream. I’m in the business of building bridges that embrace hope and sadness, loss and recovery, and the celebration of the human imagination. Thom Mayne knows Ray Bradbury’s literary works, and I want the Bradbury Center to be able to help him celebrate and honor the Bradbury legacy in the future. I miss that Old Yellow House more than I care to say publicly, and I never wanted to see it disappear. But it will never be lost, as long as we work together to preserve its memory.
Thank you

Listen up for an interview with Jonathan Eller, as well as architect Thom Mayne and his wife and partner Blythe Allison Mayne about what they plan to do with the site, coming soon on DnA. Listen to Linda Dishman, head of the Los Angeles Conservancy, address the demise of the house on this PressPlay with KCRW’s Madeleine Brand.

Bradbury Center work area
Research area of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, which plans to recreate the author’s basement office.