White Gates, iconic mid-century home in Phoenix, facing demolition by new owner

Imagine owning one of the most iconic mid-century homes in Phoenix and wanting to tear it down. That's what's currently in store for "White Gates," a 1954 house designed by famed mid-century architect Al Beadle that sits on the south slope of Camelback Mountain. Axios Phoenix explains that community members are currently trying to save the home, but its future is iffy at best: 

A demolition request was posted last Friday outside the home on White Gates Drive near 44th Street and Camelback Road.

The home is not designated historic, but because its architectural significance makes it eligible for historic preservation. 

That enabled the city to place a 30-day hold on the demolition, Phoenix Planning and Development Department spokesperson Teleia Galaviz told Axios Phoenix.

The Historic Preservation Commission will meet April 15, and may vote to initiate historic designation, she said.

Reality Check: Even if the city gives the property historic designation, it would only halt demolition for one year, per city policies. . . . 

"My client intends to build his family's home on this land and live on the property," the new owner's attorney Ben Graff told The Arizona Republic this week.

The home was sold for $1.7 million last month, The Republic reported.

Modern Phoenix describes the iconic home:

Beadle House #6, fondly referred to as White Gates, remains one of Phoenix's most beguiling and enigmatic modern architectural icons. The floating rectangle was featured by Living for Young Homemakers as A House that Calls Its Family To Order.

Built shortly after Beadle and his family settled in Phoenix, and his first attempt at something ultra-modern, the home was a showcase for modern efficiency and contrasted sharply with the rugged red rocks on the slope of Camelback.

The home was one of six that Beadle would develop in the Red Rocks area, but now only one of three that remain intact. . . 

White Gates holds the distinction of being the only home in 16 years of the Modern Phoenix Home Tour to be featured three times. This is quite an accomplishment considering that the tour changes geographic location every year! It's a fan favorite despite its current condition.

And Atomic Ranch provides a nice overview of architect Alan Beadle:

Beadle, much like other recognizable architects of the period, was absolutely prolific in Phoenix. He designed everything from single-family homes, to condominium complexes as well as sky-scraping 22 story commercial buildings and everything in between. Interestingly enough, Beadle and his partner Alan Dailey are the only architects that ever designed a case study house outside of California, the Triad in Phoenix, Arizona . . . 

Al Beadle was a man that was passionate about architecture, creating affordable housing, and never solicited work. In a world of shameless self-promotion, this architect was really tying to fight the good fight and be a part of a movement . . . 

With a passion for creating elegant modern spaces, Beadle sought to use more simple materials and once you've seen a Beadle house, you know exactly what to look for: windows. He had an affinity for using floor-to-ceiling windows that stretch as entirely transparent walls, usually on multiple sides of his designs. His works, so simple and elegant can almost disappear into the landscapes on which they were built. Many of his designs also feature flat roofs and I've also noticed breeze-blocks and lollipop lamp-posts at multiple properties of his.

I sure hope that at their April 15 meeting the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission votes to designate the home a historic property, and that someone can manage to talk the current owner into not demolishing the home or, better yet, into selling the property to someone who actually appreciates it and wants to restore it.

Photo: David Richardson

More cool photos of the home here.