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Oboler Complex Ravaged by Woolsey Fire

Photo by Betsy Malloy

Sadly, online information indicates that the Arch Oboler Complex in the mountains above Malibu, California, has been gutted in the devastating Woolsey Fire. As of the morning of November 27, this area was closed to all except emergency vehicles. The extent of damage has not been assessed, but the ravaged area is clearly visible in aerial images. The Oboler Complex is among more than 1,600 structures affected by the fire, which covered nearly 100,000 acres. Tragically, three people died as a result of the fire.

The structures of the Oboler Complex were to be part of a larger estate designed by Wright for entertainer Arch Oboler and his wife Eleanor. Wright’s original design for the Obolers’ house, known as Eaglefeather, dramatically cantilevered from a ridge on the estate. Changes in Oboler’s financial situation caused the design for the main house to be abandoned. Instead, the building containing the Gate House and Stable (1940) was expanded to accommodate a home for the Obolers. In 1941 a second Wright-designed building was constructed on the property, a retreat for Eleanor Oboler. This delightful structure distilled the original concept of Eaglefeather, cantilevering from a desert rubble stone base and providing a panoramic view in three directions.

The Conservancy will continue to monitor the situation. We are hoping to get more information on the viability of the structures soon.

Oboler Gate Cottage, Stable, and Retreat, before fire
Source: https://maps.geointel.org/app/gic-public/?extent=-13229850.0166%2C4041999 Retrieved 2018-11-27

Oboler Gate Cottage, Stable, and Retreat, after fire
Source: https://maps.geointel.org/app/gic-public/?extent=-13229850.0166%2C4041999 Retrieved 2018-11-27

Posted on November 28, 2018

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