New York University, New York, 10003, Stati Uniti
Hangover House, 31172 Ceanothus Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, Stati Uniti
Alban, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur house El Jardin Street (Long Beach, Calif.)
River Farm House, Navarro River Road (Elk, Calif.)
Cineramic house, Far Star, 31112 Holly Drive (Laguna Beach, Calif.)
House in Space, 1737 Viewmont Drive (Los Angeles, Calif.)
1631, 1637 and 1639 Viewmont Drive (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Andrews, Maxene studio 1786 Mandeville (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Bly-Blankenship house addition 5320 Spencer Drive S.W. (Roanoke, VA)
Boesen, Mr. and Mrs. Victor house Chattanooga Avenue (Pacific Palisades, Calif.)
Carroll house remodel 618 North Rodeo Drive (Beverly Hills, Calif.)
Cole, Jack house 2118 Kew Drive (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Davidson, Dr. Charles apartment remodel 1155 Park Avenue (New York, NY)
De Thiersaut and Figge, R. house 2640 Bronholly Drive and 2311 Live Oak Drive (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Elkins, Saul house Antello Road (Bel Air, Calif.)
Engstrand, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart house remodel 229 Camden Drive (Beverly Hills, Calif.)
Greggory, David house 17014 Rancho Street (Encino, Calif.)
Hofberg, Dr. Gordon house Don Mariano Drive (Baldwin Hills, Calif.)
Kanter, Mr. and Mrs. Hal house remodel 4750 Encino Avenue (Encino, Calif.)
McFrye, Mr. and Mrs. Harry house 3800 San Rafael Avenue (Highland Park, Calif.)
McTernan, John T. and Katherine house 4966 Ambrose Avenue (Los Feliz, Calif.)
Mooney, Paul house 881 South Coast Boulevard (Laguna Beach, Calif.)
Moore, Mr. and Mrs. Jack C. house Zorada Drive (Nichols Canyon, Calif.)
Padiman house 939 Stone Canyon Road (Bel Air, Calif.)
Post, Mr. and Mrs. Ted house remodel 442 South Peck Drive (Beverly Hills, Calif.)
Robinson, Inez Buck house remodel 1220 Potomac Street (Washington, D.C.)
Sperber, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence house remodel 208 South Peck Drive (Beverly Hills, Calif.)
Alexander Levy (1909–1997) and later known as William Alexander, was an American architect who worked principally in Southern California.
Early in his career, he was influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. At New York University's new School of Architecture, he studied under Raymond Bossange and Ely Jacques Kahn. One of his art and clay modeling instructors was sculptor Concetta Scaravaglione.
Also at NYU, he had as an instructor of English famed writer Thomas Wolfe, whose The Party at Jack's (UNC-Chapel Hill, 1995, pp. 41–42) shows remarkable writing on architecture, perhaps related to his strong association with the school and its students, whom he considered among his best.
Levy was the sometime lover of Mooney, with whom he kept in close touch. "Nothing is as welcome as a note from you," Mooney wrote. William Alexander dropped Levy from his last name to hide his Jewish identity. A few years before his trip to the Soviet Union, Halliburton had met Alexander during a performance of Salome, which he attended with a group of gay men. Alexander was Mooney's invited guest and joined Halliburton, bodybuilder Leopold de Sola, and another man, Charles Wolfsohn. After the performance, the group returned to the Barbizon Hotel. "Mooney was the older man and the younger Bill fell madly in love with him and they were nearly inseparable," recalled Michael E. Blankenship, a friend of Alexander.
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, NYU, New York City
Before he met Paul Mooney, Alexander's best friend was Charles "Charlie" Wolfsohn. Three years younger than Bill, Charlie was more sophisticated than he. A lawyer's son, born in Harlem, Wolfsohn, drawn early on to the world of theater and art, regularly participated in art skits (including a performance as Rembrandt) at the New York Metropolitan Musuem of Art under the keen direction of audio-visual pioneer and author Anna Curtis Chandler. While still in his teens, he became a protégé of art dealer Sidney Osbourne, the "black sheep son of the Duke of Kent." He already had, by seventeen, several romances, and one with Richard Halliburton remains a possibility. In time, Wolfsohn became a landscape gardener for the New York Botanical Gardens, and a penthouse garden designer of some note. In the early 1930s, with Alexander, he helped dealer-owners, mostly women, install various art exhibits. Cecilia Beaux was one of the artists exhibited, Bill later recalled, as was Florine Stettheimer.
Many of these galleries were located near the Algonquin. Paul and Bill were fast friends, and with Bill often went Charlie. Bill didn't drive a car, and relied on Paul to drive him places. Paul, fascinated by car culture, was a most capable driver, if at times a reckless one, and a proficient mechanic. When Paul wasn't available, Bill hitchhiked or took the train to wherever it was he wanted to go. Bill liked to learn about things—one of his few A's at NYU was in Ancient Civilizations, which he liked because it took him to other worlds. Remarkably, he had gotten a B from Wolfe, who was not known to dispense high grades. Still, Bill didn't like to read as did Paul. He liked stories, but preferred to hear their highlights told to him. As had Charlie, Paul let Bill know what he was reading; he also shared with him his musical tastes. Especially enjoyable to Paul were the live radio broadcasts that aired from the Metropolitan. He especially liked maestro Arturo Toscanini and Wagnerian soprano Kirsten Flagstad. Sundays, he always made it a point to listen to popular announcer Milton T. Cross lecture on classical music. Bill admired Charlie but soon he idolized Paul, who was so plainly unlike the many people whom he so strongly disliked. These included people who shared their dreams, who did romantic grappling in public places, who called their home some cute name, who hummed along to great music, and who put gnomes, storks, ducks, deer on their lawns. He particularly detested people who kicked the back of his theater seat, which Paul impishly might do just to tease a smile from his often too serious and peevish friend.
During the Depression it was not unusual for families to take in boarders, and for a time Paul lived at Alexander's parents' 672 Eastern Parkway home in Brooklyn's uppercrust Flatbush district. Within walking distance was Prospect Park, where stood Frederick MacMonnies' famed equestrian statue of General Slocum, hero of the Battle of Bull Run; nearby was his equally imposing statue "The Horse Tamer." By this time, Paul had made at least one trip to faraway California and had met famous people about whom more will soon be unfolded. Paul's stories of the rich and famous in far-off California, in whose lives he now insinuated himself, thrilled and amused Alexander's parents and siblings.
In 1933 or 1934, he worked briefly for skyscraper designer Raymond Hood, who also had been an occasional lecturer at NYU. Renovation of dilapidated structures at Fort Schuyler in the Bronx was Alexander's first commission, one funded by the U.S. government. Other chiefly private client commissions followed. These included interiors for designer Christian Dior, novelist/ travel writer Conrad Bercovicci, and biographer Marcia Davenport.
Alexander is best known for the design and building of Hangover House in Laguna Beach, California, commissioned by travel writer Richard Halliburton in 1937. The house had three bedrooms, one for Halliburton, one for Alexander, and one for Paul Mooney, Halliburton's companion and writing assistant, who collaborated with Halliburton on his later writing projects and who managed construction of the house. In 1937, writer Ayn Rand, then unknown, visited Hangover House and Alexander provided her with quotes for her forthcoming novel The Fountainhead (1943). According to Alexander, Rand's descriptions of the Heller House are thinly disguised references to the house.
Later, Alexander assisted composer Arnold Schoenberg in the redesign of his studio in Brentwood, and also designed a house in Encino for scriptwriter David Greggory. The house in the Hollywood Hills he built for himself he called the House in Space, distinct as an early example in the region of cantilever construction. Alexander also designed wooden furniture and bowls.
Alexander continued to practice architecture and interior design and by 1950 had moved permanently to West Hollywood.
He considered the Hotel Rancho de la Palmilla in Los Cruces (Baja, California), which he designed and built in the 1950s for the son of former Mexican President Abelardo de Rodriguez, his best work.
In 1952, Alexander opened The Mart, one of the first art and antique boutiques in Los Angeles, on Santa Monica Boulevard, operating it until 1977. During this period, he occasionally had bit parts in feature films, notably The Shootist, starring John Wayne, and The McMasters, starring Brock Peters, his sometime business partner at The Mart. A developer of the Hollywood Hills and a philanthropist, Alexander became a patron of the arts and a world traveler.
Alexander's papers are kept at the Architecture and Design Collection, at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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