City Council Designates "Whispering Waters" a Historic Landmark

Published : Friday, November 9, 2018 | 6:49 AM

Decades ago, residents and visitors alike marveled at the multiple cascading fountains outside of the Whispering Waters condominium building in Pasadena.

While the fountains were turned off and filled in with gravel and soil many years ago, the condominium building at 1000 Cordova Street is still widely admired for its distinct mid-century modern style architecture — a style Pasadena residents wants to preserve.

The Pasadena City Council reaffirmed that by designating the building a landmark after a public hearing on Monday.

Mid-century modern is the design movement in interior, product, graphic design, architecture and urban development from roughly 1945 to 1975.

During the last few months, residents have written to City Council voicing their support of such a landmark designation; many stating that the building is a prime example of a garden multiple family residential building in the mid-century modern style.

It was built by builder/developer Lionel V. Mayell, dubbed the “condo pioneer” by those in the architecture and real estate community,in 1961. Mayell did a series of construction projects in Pasadena in the 1950s and 1960s.

In August, the Pasadena Historic Preservation Commission recommended that city council approve the designation of the building as a landmark, which through the decades has retained most of its original defining features.

The property is located on an irregularly shaped lot on the south side of Cordova St.,, on entire block between South Mentor and Catalina avenues.

A series of pools, originally filled with water and incorporating lighting and fountains, but now filled with soil and gravel, occupy a varying-depth setback from Cordova Street. The areas outside of the pools, as well as the setback areas along the two side streets are landscaped.

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