William Alexander Levy

William Alexander Levy (1909–1997), later William Alexander, was an American architect and interior designer.

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 sculptress 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. 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 upstate New York 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. 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.

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. 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.

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