Phoenix Beadle House Saved
By Margaret Foster | Online Only | Mar. 17, 2008
Until now, it looked like the Arizona desert would swallow a mid-century modern house designed by Phoenix architect Alfred Beadle.
Last month, Lynda Maze, owner of the 1958 White Gates House, convinced a Phoenix court to give her time to renovate her blighted property, which she had considered razing two years ago. The city retracted two blight citations that neighbors had filed against the house.
"I didn't realize it would take possession of my body," Maze says of the White Gates House. "I'm not a historian, but I just got the house, spent some time up there and decided, 'I've got to do something.'"
Maze has asked local "Beadlemaniacs" to help her with the restoration, and several architects have submitted pro bono designs for an addition to the house.
"Things are moving forward," says Alison King, founder of Modern Phoenix, a Web-based group that has been trying to save the White Gates House since 2001, when a magazine article revealed that its land was worth more than the ailing building. "She was really seeking some input, so we gave it to her. We all care about Alfred Beadle's legacy."
In the meantime, however, another Beadle work, the Mountain Bell Building in downtown Phoenix, is scheduled to be demolished later this year. Its owner, San Diego-based developer Joe Pinsonneault, has allowed the glass-and-steel office building to deteriorate since he bought it in 2003. Located on nine acres, the building, now known as the Qwest Building, will be torn down for an upscale condominium complex.
Alfred Newman Beadle (1927-1998) designed several banks and apartment buildings and dozens of modern houses in Arizona. He launched his career by designing houses for his own family and then selling them, often before his family had a chance to move in. A native of St. Paul, Minn., Beadle enjoyed his desert homes, especially after sunset: "The reflections from room to room and the reflections of the city's lights make the dimensions of the house disappear. Then we're suspended in space," he told the Arizona Republic in 1964. "Every house should have a surprise for its owners," he said. "This was our surprise. We had never suspected this talent of our home."
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