Claraboya is a Spanish word meaning “Skylight” or “Window to the Sky,” and what a fitting word it is to describe this neighborhood of panoramic views of the valley, mountains, and horizon. On any given day, from certain vantage points in Claraboya, one can see as far south as Corona and the Santa Ana Mountains, as far east as San Jacinto, and to the west the skyline of downtown Los Angeles. On a clear day, Santa Catalina Island is visible.
Claraboya was a shared vision of developers Gail Frampton and Robert Musgrove, as well as the project architects, Criley & McDowell Architects, AIA, of Claremont. This planned modern community was developed with the philosophy that, in spite of the luxury, tempo, and convenience of modern living, people need to identify with the earth around them to be happy. McDowell, the lead architect on the project was a graduate of the USC School of Architecture and had worked with Richard Neutra for several years. Like Neutra, McDowell believed that placing “livable boxes” on raw land was not enough: “Total environment occurs when earth and dwelling merge into a recognizable whole, where terrain, floor plan, exterior design, building materials, and landscaping work consciously together.”
McDowell went on to design some of the first and finest examples of modern homes in the development, most notably the award-winning, “Concrete House,” which received the “Horizon Homes” award in 1964 sponsored by the Association of Concrete Industries.
You can view the “Concrete House” and five other mid-century modern homes on the annual Historic Home Tour presented by Claremont Heritage this Sunday, Oct. 13. Please log onto claremontheritage.org for more information.