Phoenix Beadle House Saved


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Alfred Newman Beadle designed many modern houses like this one, known as White Gates, throughout Phoenix.

Credit: Nancy Beadle

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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Submitted by modkenn at: April 7, 2009
I wish I had the money to restore this beautiful piece of Beadle architecture. Having toured the house on several occasions I understand it's being--it has touched my soul.

Submitted by Hassayampa Smith at: July 11, 2008
The house hasn't been saved yet. It's been in bad condition for years and until the renovation begins in earnest, the neighbors will still consider it an eyesore...which it is in its current state.

Submitted by I know better at: May 10, 2008
You are wrong. Construction IS coming and it will revitalize downtown Phoenix in ways that you cannot (or will not) imagine. This developer is "Smart money" and the smart money buys and constructs when no one else does. That is why he is worth millions of dollars. By the time he is through the market will come back and the project will be a rousing success.

Submitted by Roger at: April 16, 2008
The rescue of Beadle's White Gates House is a great success story for Modernism. It is also one more step forward against the rate that Tuscan villas are risng from the desert. But, the demise of the Bell building is tragic, and a travesty foisted on Phoenix. The developer raised specious claims that the cost of asbestos abatement made rehabiliation impossible, but it was also an excuse for his real intention - speculation leading to demolition by neglect. The once elegant buiilding and its surounding site is now forlorn. Even worse, this is to create a site for condo towers, for which there is no current market, and actual construction is unlikely.