Tuesday, December 30
At a time of year when "Best of" lists are aplenty, The LA Times published "The Best Houses of All Time in L.A." Modernity was a theme as Schindler's Kings Road House, Neutra's Kaufmann House, Wright's Ennis and Hollyhock houses, The Eames' House, Koenig's Case Study House 22, Lautner's Chemosphere, Ray Kappe's home for himself, and Gill's Dodge House made the list. Check out the slideshow HERE.
Way back in August, I admit I missed this one, The LA Times posted that Frank Lloyd Wright’s La Miniatura (circa 1923) – one of the four textile-block built houses, this one in Pasadena in 1923 was up for sale. The home, also known as the Millard House was for sale for $7,733,000. Check out the photos of this jewel HERE.
Saturday, December 27
Renaissance man John Dirks has passed away. The long-time La Mesa sculptor, ceramist, furniture maker, and educator died on Christmas morning on his way to visit his long-time companion Marjorie McBride. He went peacefully. While I have only known John for a little over four years, I cannot fathom how the first nine decades of his life touched those around him. It is with great sadness that I report his leaving us. In November of 2006, The Mingei hosted a one-man show by Dirks featuring more than 40 sculptures spanning four decades. This, beyond his pieces being clutched tightly in private collections, was a rare glimpse in to his work. Born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin in 1914, John Dirks moved with his family to California in 1921. Winner of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from San Diego’s Hoover High School, where he studied architectural drawing and crafts, he graduated from San Diego State College with a bachelor’s degree in art in 1937. He taught art at Hoover High School from 1939 – 1943, leaving there to become an instructor at Convair for the Army Air Corps. In 1944, he joined the Navy as an officer. Mr. Dirks joined the Art Department at San Diego State College in 1948, teaching there for 29 years. Dirks received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate School in 1960 and a Distinguished Teaching Award from San Diego State in 1972. Of the eight founding members of the Allied Craftsmen, Dirks was the only one still alive. Martha Longenecker is now the eldest member among the group’s earliest roll calls.
It was forty seven years ago pastoral Mission Valley was changed forever. Excitement over three new malls–College Grove, Grossmont Center, and Mission Valley–resulted in a decline for downtown department stores and merchants. Check out early and current photos of The May Company by William Lewis (Deems, Lewis, Martin) circa 1961 HERE.
Ever curious about where Eileen Gray lived? Check out the post-Bauhaus furniture designer's pad on the coast of France HERE.
Arts & Architecture, which folded 41 years ago, was recently reissued by Taschen in an edition that covers 1945 to 1954 -- 10 years in 10 boxes, 118 issues in more than 6,000 pages. (A second installment, reprinting 1955 to 1967, is due in 2010.). Read the LA Times’ review HERE.
KC Modern celebrated Christmas by memorializing the fire that razed Bruce Goff's Shin'en Kan. Check it out HERE.
Wednesday, December 24
Manola Court at Edgecliffe Drive in Silver Lake, hit the market for the first time recently since 1959. Originally listed at $3 million, the R.M. Schindler-designed project has undergone a discount and is now available for $2.499 million. "Like an ancient European hill town, Schindler steps the buildings up the hillside, and creates a sense of community by interconnecting living space with garden walkways. The unique character of the individual units is unified and tied together with extended window fascia, and abstract ornamentation that organizes the massing of the spaces, as well as accentuating the dynamic vertical thrust of the buildings." read more HERE.
A Philip Johnson designed home on Oenoke Ridge in New Canaan, CT is on the market for $3.5 million. Built in 1953, the home sits on 2.2 acres of lawns and mature trees. The main house is 1,700 square feet and contains two bedrooms, two baths (one that is original and tiled in the same slate used outdoors and throughout the house) and a kitchen and living room/dining room combination. An enclosed courtyard leads to a guest cottage, which also has a full bath. Read more HERE.
Architect Nathaniel Saltonstall's home for himself in Medfield, MA is up for sale. a pioneer in contemporary style buildings. Check out the listing HERE.
Saturday, December 13
The owners of Marquis Modern, Clay Rotolo and Karen Marquis, lost their iconic, pristine, unrestored Brookfield, Connecticut mid-century modern home to fire. Our hearts go out to them. See a photo of the rubble HERE or check out their site HERE.
Several works by American abstract expressionist painter Hans Hofmann will debut at The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. “Hans Hofmann: Circa 1950” represents a body of work created by Hans Hofmann for the architect Josep Sert’s 1950 city plan called the Chimbote Project. The nine painting studies, Hofmann produced for a series of murals in this Peruvian city, from 1950 were created at the apex of the painter’s maturity. For more go HERE.
I just added several new real estate listings for San Diego, Point Loma, La Mesa and Borrego Springs HERE.
According to architect John Mock’s son Kevin, the owners of the Hindman Residence Bryan and Jora Vess have obtained County Historical Building Designation for the structure and have recently won grand prize for the work from San Diego Home/Gardens Lifestyle’s “Home of the Year” competition. The award will be published in the February '09 issue, 45 years after the house won its first Grand Prize for John Mock. The owners hope Sunset magazine will also publish the house decades after its first pictorial, which was originally credited to Richard Neutra not John Mock.
La Mesa’s Coleman College building has apparently closed. Up until the late ‘80s this was La Mesa bowl. The original driveway and entrance are still intact but who knows what the plans for the structure are.
For those that have not driven through La Mesa recently, the city has demolished the core of its Civic Center. Only the Post Office, Police Station and Admin offices remain. Already installed are the Mission Valley condominium complex inspired fire station and library.
Tuesday, December 9
Tonight, at Manhattan’s Municipal Art Society, Nicholas Fox Weber author of the new biography “Le Corbusier - A Life,” will discuss Le Corbusier “…the precise, mathematical, practical-minded artist whose idealism — vibrant, poetic, imaginative; discipline; and sensuality were reflected in his iconic designs and pioneering theories of architecture and urban planning.” If you can’t make it, purchase the book HERE.
Furniture designer Don Albinson has passed away. Following his studies at Cranbrook and service in WW2 in the Army Air Corps Albinson led the design team at the Eames office between 1946-1959. He went on to design for Knoll, then work with other furniture giants Haworth and Steelcase. Learn more HERE.
The Boston Globe posted a slide show featuring the Gips, Wise and Hatch modernist cottages on Cape Cod HERE. Additionally there is a slide showby the Boston Globe of the Murchison House in Provincetown, MA by The Architects Collective HERE. The Boston paper has also produced a short video "The Modern Alternative" highlighting how "New England is hiding its midcentury modern houses." Watch it HERE.
Saturday, December 6
Dave Hampton has two new books out!
1. Dick Seeger, influential artist, craftsman and gallerist is re-examined fifty years later. Known for his innovative approach to plastics as an art medium (often for architectural application), Seeger became an important figure in Scottsdale’s mid-century art and architecture community but until now his story has gone untold. Check out “The Seeger Studio 1957-1962, Desert Modern in Scottsdale, Arizona” HERE.
2. During the turbulent era of the 1960s, forces from the world of fine art, the American crafts movement and higher education converged in the San Francisco Bay Area making it the epicenter of an artist-foundry movement that swept the country. Holt Murray, Daryle Webb, Peter Teneau, Richard Mills, Stephen Daly and Thomas Lynn made everything from jewelry and furniture to giant figurative sculpture and architectural elements over the course of an historic decade. They contributed to a nationwide reinterpretation of art casting and the nature of art and craft in general. Check out “Pouring Metal in the South Bay, The 1960s California Artist-Foundry Movement” HERE.
In 1973, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) moved into its 180,000-square-foot headquarters by The Architects Collaborative. Now, more than three decades later, the structure will be the site of the AIA’s “21st Century Workplace Project,” the building’s first comprehensive renovation. Read more HERE.
Drawings and models of Paul Rudolph designs on view (through February 15) at the Rudolph-designed Art and Architecture Building at Yale seek to resurrect the architect’s reputation as a master architect. The show, “Model City: Buildings & Projects by Paul Rudolph for Yale and New Haven” shows how Rudolph tried to weave the new modernism with older structures, not just abstract shapes and volumes. Read more HERE.
The Donald and Helen Olsen House (circa 1954) by Donald Olsen at 771 San Diego Road in Berkeley is under review for historic designation. Apparently the modernist residence “displays the geometries, ethos, strict formalism and rigor that embody the utopian style.” Read more HERE.
Thursday, December 4
For Keith York, founder and resident blogger of the web site www.modernsandiego.com, "Timing is everything." What makes San Diego different from other cities is "a confluence of unique variables" that drew people here after World War II. "Those who came at that time arrived with a different reason, rationale and disposition than did people who moved to most other American cities," different, even, from "Los Angeles's seemingly parallel track," York wrote. "San Diego's military prominence and the growth of associated industries drew commissioned officers and business leaders, enlisted soldiers, sailors and factory workers and their families," York continued. This population boom resulted in a market for custom homes (superbly designed for this place by native San Diegan Lloyd Ruocco, for example) and a great need for middle-class housing (fulfilled by tract home builders Palmer & Krisel and others). "And that need, coupled with an 'anything goes out west' cultural foundation allowed for new ideas, new technology, new materials - a veritable blank slate for many of the region's new residents," according to York. Read the full article by Ann Jarmusch HERE.
Have $3.7M to spare, want to live in a Craig Ellwood designed home and move to Hillsborough? You dreams have been answered HERE.