Outsider Architecture: 1 Man + 30 Years + 20,000 Sq Ft =


Slated for forced demolition, can the colossal Phonehenge West yet be saved? While many of us marvel at the work that goes into such decade-spanning, single-person construction projects, the authorities are not always as impressed – one man may learn this lesson the hard way.

Alan Kimble Fahey has labored for much of his life on this offbeat compilation of  interconnected structures and hodgepodge spaces. Now, however, Los Angeles County is coming down hard on the un-permitted piece of architectural art.

Aside from zoning issues, there are likely-legitimate fire code concerns … though for a state with an already-overfilled prison system, up to seven years behind bars seems a bit excessive. Many fans of this unusual masterpiece strongly agree.

This specific dilemma raises a more timeless question, however, for historic preservation: at what point does personal or public interest play a valid role in creating exceptions to rules? One man’s scrap heap is another man’s castle of trash, after all – and asking someone to demolish their abode is a rather big deal. It would be unfair to call the work a pile of unsafe junk – much of it is traditionally-framed and solidly-built, even if it does not conform to traditional typological norms.

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