Mark Singer and his fight to transform Laguna Beach architecture

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Mark Singer and his fight to transform Laguna Beach architecture

Mark Singer and his fight to transform Laguna Beach architecture

Laguna Beach architect Mark Singer, whose dramatic use of concrete, rock, glass and exposed steel marked a sharp contrast from the traditional wood cottages in the beach community, has died. He was 67.

The cause was pancreatic cancer that he had been battling for about a year-and-a-half, said his daughter, Jessica Berman.

Singer, who died Sept. 17 at his home in Laguna Beach, designed scores of homes beginning in the late 1980s, becoming so identified with Contemporary architecture in the area that modern works by others were often attributed to him.

“Every time people see a building with sharp corners,” he said in a 1998 Times interview, “it’s a Mark Singer building.”

It was not always meant as a compliment. Although Singer won numerous architectural awards for his designs, his buildings roiled traditionalists who wanted to preserve the bohemian nature of the beach city.

“He transformed the architecture of Laguna Beach,” said Marshall Ininns, a local architect who admires Singer’s work, “from pitched roofs with shake wood shingles, wood siding and brick trim, to glass walls and use of materials like stone and stucco.”

Singer’s homes, which sometimes went for seven-figure price tags, favored spacious rooms with little ornamentation. With his ample use of glass, often the most eye-catching feature was the view of outside. […]

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