BLOG ARCHIVE - August 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

For Ralph Rapson, the 1970s was a busy decade, full of projects that varied in size, scale, program, locale, and complexity. Client complexity varied as well. Rapson had only himself and his wife Mary to please when he designed the Glass Cube, their vacation home, in 1974. Learn more about the Cube here.

Taking along her copy of Frank Lloyd Wright's "The Natural House," author Patricia Lowry spends time in The Duncan House, a plywood prefab built in the 1950s in a Chicago suburb. Published in 1954 as a guide to building the Usonian house, the acronym he coined for the United States of North America. Usonian houses were affordable, single-story dwellings for the middle class; over his long career he built more than 100 of them, including the Duncan House. Read more here about Lowry’s experience.

A new exhibition, The Goldfinger Project, opens in London on September 1 exploring the history of brutalist architecture through the work and legacy of a leading figure in British architectural history, Erno Goldfinger. Learn more here.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Tucker, Sadler & Associates (later Bennett) offices (1962) photographed by Julius Shulman in March, 1965. Parking lot and original signage.

As some of you may know, the Tucker, Sadler & Associates Office (1962) at 2411 Second Avenue recently changed ownership. The new owners, as with the nearby Henry Hester designed Casey, McClenahan and Christensen offices (1961) (NE Corner of 1st and Laurel) are remodeling for new attorney’s offices.  The extent of the work is unknown, but it appears as if they’ve already lopped-off the cantilevered beams and trellis at the rear of the building. The original product of the USC School of Architecture is now in jeopardy after gaining notoriety through Julius Shulman's original photographs. Photographs by Shulman circa 1965 are to the right.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Before I jump on a plane to Washington, DC I have time for one post this morning.

If you are near Dallas, or in Fort Worth specifically, the Amon Carter Museum has reopened after a three-month shutdown to rework its galleries. Designed by Philip Johnson in 1961, the museum features works by Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, Thomas Cole, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Ben Shahn, Grant Wood, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam's as well as modernists Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Georgia O'Keeffe and Louise Nevelson. Learn more here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

NO house in France better reflects the magical promise of 20th-century architecture than the Maison de Verre. Tucked behind the solemn porte-cochere of a traditional French residence on Rue Saint-Guillaume, a quiet street in a wealthy Left Bank neighborhood, the 1932 house designed by Pierre Chareau challenges our assumptions about the nature of Modernism. For architects it represents the road not taken: a lyrical machine whose theatricality is the antithesis of the dry functionalist aesthetic that reigned through much of the 20th century. Read more here.

Beyond visiting Niemeyer's work in Brasilia or Le Corbusier's genius at play in Chandigarh, India, Columbus, a small city in Indiana, ranks as one of the few architectural itineraries on my to-do list. Boasting works by I.M. Pei, Eero Saarinen, Henry Moore, Dan Kiley, among others, Columbus should not be just a stop on your way elsewhere, but a destination in itself. Learn more about how to travel to this architectural mecca here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2007

The Palm Springs Fire Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Riverside County District Attorney's Office are jointly investigating the mysterious fire that burned the Orchid Tree Inn. The July 19 fire, that caused $650K in damage to the historically significant Palm Springs hotel complex designed by famed modernist architect Albert Frey is the second in recent months. Determined to be the work of an arsonist, this fire follows a September 30th fire that initially caused 100K in damage to the  15-unit, two-story hotel, which was boarded up for renovations.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

By all accounts, the Design One opening on Thursday was a success. Despite my travel schedule not allowing me to be there for the opening reception, I will be heading over to their new locattion at 3789 1/2 Park Blvd this week.

The Yen Residence by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg closed escrow on Thursday - the house will now be home to a second owner. We here at MSD wish the new owners the best (it is one of our favorite private homes in the whole county).

Since Philip Johnson passed away in '05, New Canaan's modernist inventory has come under a new spotlight.

"People are coming looking for these houses, so the tear-downs have slowed down," said Janet Lindstrom, executive director of the New Canaan Historical Society. "They seem to be much more respected. Many of them are in the process of being refurbished and it could be that maybe five years ago, they would have been torn down and lost to us forever."

Efforts to preserve the houses, all by noted modernist architects, got another boost recently when the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation provided funds for a $65,000 survey. The survey will focus on houses built by Johnson and four other famous modernist architects and on houses that were built by architects who were influenced by them. Read more here.

Sunday August 19, 2007

According to the New York Times, It seems that nearly every day a new architectural competition is announced featuring an international lineup of established or emerging architects vying to design an eye-catching museum, airport, theater, courthouse or concert hall....Yet architectural historians point out that unbuilt designs can achieve a heroic status eclipsing the building that was actually realized. Walter Gropius’s Modernist design for the Chicago Tribune project in 1922, for example, was far more influential than what ultimately was built, a neo-Gothic design by Raymond Hood. It became “famous by its martyrdom,” Mr. Bergdoll said of Gropius’s project. Read more here.


Gropius in 1922

A nice discussion in the Wall Street Journal of how the Gropius and Farnsworth houses compare/contrast with today's residential architecture can be found here. My favorite excerpt:

The Gropius House, built by Walter Gropius in 1938, is a simple two-story structure that still looks breathtakingly contemporary. Its clean, right-angled lines and uncluttered floor plan are the very essence of the architectural style now known to aficionados as midcentury modernism. I paid a visit to the Gropius House the other day, and as I pulled into the driveway, I thought, This house could have been built yesterday -- except that in 2007, few people would be willing to build a home that looks so utterly unlike the ones in which their neighbors live.

I updated Modern Cape Cod with some new images on the front page.

Saturday August 18, 2007

Several updates today. I added several new items to the Features and Real Estate sections. Please check them out.

Thursday August 16, 2007


Wonderful Streamline Modern residence below the peak of Diamond Head just south of Waikiki

I am in Honolulu for a few days hunting Modernism.

The founders of Objects USA were profiled by San Diego City Beat this week. Read more here.

Read an article on Dallas Modern.

The Pasadena Art Council's Art & Ideas Festival will launch lectures on "The Leisure Architecture of Wayne McAllister" (on October 13) and furniture and interiors designed Josef Hoffmann, Adolph Loos and Otto Wagner in the early part of the 20th century (on October 23). More information is available here.

Thursday August 9, 2007

While maybe at the outset several years ago Modern San Diego was unique, but it is certainly not an original idea any longer. There now exists great sites focused on modernism in Denver, Phoenix, Houston and many other cities. If you know of any other sites, like this one, focused on a specific locale, drop me a line here.

Tuesday August 7, 2007

John M. Johansen's 1967 brutalist structure, Baltimore's 1967 Morris A. Mechanic Theatre is in the midst of controversy. Shall it be torn down? Turned into a big-box retail store by developer David S. Brown Enterprises Ltd.? Or will the building gain landmark status by the city's Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation? Find out more here.

Sunday August 5, 2007

UCSD's John Muir College, whose powerful concrete architecture represents the focal point of San Diego's Modernist design heritage, has won a nearly $100,000 grant from the Getty Foundation to protect its distinctive buildings. Read more here.

Thursday August 2, 2007

Taschen has just released a follow-up to their Book of Tiki entitled Primitivism in the Modern World. Read more here.

Moving to San Francisco? Here is your dream house up for sale as an "as is trust sale" for 799K - complete with a full inventory of Hans Wegner furnishings.

Wednesday August First, 2007

Gonna be in Edmonton this month? If so, check out Capital Modern: Edmonton Architecture and Urban Design 1940-1969 at the AGA. Read a review of the show here or go directly to Art Gallery Alberta's site here.

 

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