Crestwood Hills is an architecturally controlled neighborhood located in the hills of Brentwood. One of the last few fully-realized, postwar cooperative housing projects in the country, it has thrived for nearly 75 years—and remains a vital community working to preserve its architectural legacy and cooperative ideals.
Crestwood Hills is located on the ridges to the north and east of Kenter Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains. It is best known for its mid-century modern architecture, and contains several homes designated as architectural landmarks by the State of California. The homes were designed by A. Quincy Jones, and are featured in numerous magazines, articles, and books about mid-century modern housing. The community includes a park, pre-school, and homeowners' association.
Crestwood Hills began as a utopian experiment in the late 1940s by a few musicians, and eventually turned into a cooperative association that included 400 members. The project was initially called the Mutual Housing Tract, before changing to Crestwood Hills. It was intended as a multi-ethnic project, but pressure on the landowner from existing Brentwood residents—this was still the era of racially (primarily African-Americans) and religiously (primarily Catholics; the development was nearly one-half Jewish) restrictive housing covenants—eventually led to some members of the original group to being dropped as a condition of finalizing the sale.
The 1961 Brentwood-Bel-Air fire led to the destruction of 49 homes. Brenda Rees of the Los Angeles Times said "decades of construction and reconstruction erased much of the original modern design." By 2000 Crestwood Hills was a wealthy neighborhood.