Modern San Diego Retail Adverts
Armin Richter Interiors from Arts & Architecture

Friday December 30, 2011

In reading the recent reprint of California Houses by Gordon Drake (thank you Santa), I realized that beyond a blog entry from November ’10 I had failed to follow up and post a page on Drake’s San Diego work. First, purchase a copy of the book HERE, and then second you can learn a bit more about his “House in Coronado” project HERE. But perhaps most importantly you should read this article Gordon Drake: An Annotated & Illustrated Bibliography and this Californian Promise: Review of architect Gordon Drake's designs for a comprehensive view of his work.

Three years after his death, architect Ralph Rapson’s (1914-2008) work is the subject of a new show at a furniture shop in Minneapolis. A vintage example of Rapson’s "rapid rocker" will be the centerpiece of  a show comprised of 25 of the architect's sketches for unbuilt furniture, and a new high-backed version of the rocker recently issued by Rapson-Inc. Rapson-Inc. plans to issue a new chair next year based on one of the architect's unrealized designs. Exhibit visitors and online voters can choose one of three designs that will be put into production. Read more HERE.

Modern San Diego Retail Adverts
Design Center from San Diego & Point Magazine

Tuesday December 27, 2011

Second generation abstract expressionist, Helen Frankenthaler, has died. Read more about her HERE.

Sori Yanagi, a pioneer of Japan’s industrial design, has died. He was 96. Yanagi's "butterfly stool," an award-winning design at the 1957 Milan Triennale, helped elevate him to international stature. Yanagi was born in Tokyo on June 29, 1915. He chose design for his career after falling in love with the work of architect Le Corbusier while studying oil painting at the National University of Arts in Tokyo. He opened his own industrial design office in the early 1950s. For a period of time, Sori served as director of the Japan Folk Crafts Museum in Tokyo. The museum was founded by his father, Soetsu Yanagi, who led the "mingei" movement celebrating Japanese folk craft. Read more HERE.

Modern San Diego Retail Adverts
Design Center from San Diego & Point Magazine

Sunday December 25, 2011

Plan your trip to Bartlesville, Oklahoma today! Price Tower Arts Center (in the infamous Frank Lloyd Wright Price Tower) will host the touring exhibition Greta Magnusson Grossman: A Car and Some Shorts beginning January 20, 2012. Keep a watchful eye on THIS site. If you do not own it yet, you can still purchase the exhibition catalog for the same show when it was held in Stockholm back in 2010 HERE.

SAVE THE DATE: On January 21, I will host a talk with Robert Mosher entitled “Modernism Defined by Someone Who Committed It”. Please join us at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design beginning at 9:30 a.m. More information is available HERE.

I updated Joe Kowalski's bio HERE.

Modern San Diego Retail Adverts
Hanmore & Stratton advert from San Diego & Point Magazine

Friday December 23, 2011

By joining us today you have helped us achieve a new annual record -- we have well-surpassed 18,000 unique visitors this year! Please tell a friend so we can bring even more attention to these stories in 2012.

I have had my real estate license for years now, so it's finally time to launch Modern San Diego Real Estate. After working on behalf of sellers and buyers to exchange homes designed by Frederick Liebhardt, Homer Delawie, William Krisel, James Bernard, Henry Hester and others, it is time to link the history and the commerce! Please click HERE to see the site and send me any feedback via email HERE.

The folks behind the LACMA blog UNFRAMED actually emailed today! If you haven't spent an afternoon on their site, check out their article 'What is it About Chairs?' HERE.

Architecture critic and historian, Esther McCoy, is the subject of an exhibition at the Schindler House in West Hollywood. The show is accompanied by a Getty-funded catalog, and early next year East of Borneo Press will publish "Piecing Together Los Angeles," an anthology of McCoy's essays on architecture. Read more HERE.

Many thanks to all who attended last night! Thanks to Herman Miller, Trumer Pils and SqueezePlay! Organics
as well as Mingei International, MOPA, SDAF and Friends of SD Architecture for coming together to make
it all happen! Plans are afoot for more events in the near future!

Friday December 16, 2011

After more than 30 years in dark concrete storerooms in the bowels of the Civic Theater, where it was entombed by "hostile handlers," a major public work by Ellamarie and Jackson Woolley called "Reflective Sun" shines again as part of Mingei International’s exhibition, San Diego's Craft Revolution: From Post-War Modern To California Design. Read more HERE.

A new book, LA's Early Moderns explores the works and intertwined relationships of Los Angeles' early visionaries of the modernist movement in architecture, art, and photography. Written by Victoria Dailey, the book examines the works of Galka Scheyer, Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, WIll Connell, Frank Lloyd Wright, Edward Weston, John Cage, Anais Nin, Jake Zeitlin, Merle Armitage, and Harriet and Sam Freeman. Learn more HERE.

Leonard Smith has died. Smith, according to Todd Pitman, was responsible for what many today would call the classic ‘50s Mount Helix ranch home. He was known to most as a realtor who sold homes in La Mesa starting in the mid 1940s. What many do not know is that he studied architecture under John Lloyd Wright and C.J. Paderewski. Leonard Smith designed and built dozens of distinctive modern ranch style homes in the Mount Helix area immediately after WW2. Mr. Smith worked collaboratively with many area builders, designing homes for his brother-in-law George Eckle and selling spec homes for John Mortenson and Marvin Jackson. Leonard shared La Mesa's mid-century architectural history with Pitman, who eagerly listened as he described area homes by architects Lloyd Ruocco, Sim Bruce Richards and others. “Even into his late 80s Leonard was sharp as a tack. I could give him a 50 year old picture and he would drive me to the was actually amazing. He was a very modest and very kind man. I was happy to have known him.” Read more HERE.

I wanted to share my prepared remarks delivered prior to Eames: The Architect and the Painter in part to remember them, but more honestly to convey my appreciation for all those that sponsored, volunteered, attended and hopefully enjoyed the heck out of the evening.

“It is wonderful to be standing here in front of a full house. When we decided a few weeks ago to put this event together, we did not imagine the swift and enthusiastic response it would receive. By purchasing a ticket to attend tonight’s reception and film premiere you are supporting two essential arts institutions here in San Diego: The Museum of Photographic Arts and Mingei International Museum. These two museums formed a fantastic collaboration to host tonight’s event. Mingei’s Rob Sidner is here in the audience, and I want to acknowledge him, MOPA’s Deborah Klochko and the staff and members of both organizations who worked to make this happen. Two other local nonprofits helped spread the word. I am grateful to the San Diego Architectural Foundation and Friends of San Diego Architecture for promotion support.

Dave Hampton, curator and visionary behind San Diego’s Craft Revolution is also with us tonight. His passion and knowledge have brought us an incredibly important exhibition, realized with the support of Mingei. I know for some that tonight was the first time seeing the show, and I hope that you all find time to see it again and again. I’d like to offer a special thanks to SqueezePlay! Organics and Trumer Pils for the delicious fruit, juice and beer that we enjoyed while at Mingei this evening. Thank you. And finally, I’d like to express tremendous gratitude to our premier event sponsor, Herman Miller. Andrea Tarlow, her clients and colleagues’ excitement in bringing you all together around this unique film expresses the continued legacy of Charles and Ray Eames’ designs for Herman Miller. Herman Miller’s dedication to this, now infamous, design duo is much of what we are celebrating here in San Diego. You can find Herman Miller products at G/M Business Interiors, a certified Herman Miller dealer.

As you will learn shortly, the Eames Office was located just 90 minutes north of here. Among the folks that emigrated from the Eames Office down here to San Diego was Harry Bertoia. Harry spent his time here working at the Naval Electronics Lab (with the likes of Barney Reid) and hand-hammering his early jewelry designs – some of which are on view in Craft Revolution. Most certainly the Eames’ furniture was available early on at San Diego stores like Ilse Ruocco’s Design Center on 5th Avenue and Armin Richter’s shop in La Jolla. San Diegans reading magazines like ‘Arts & Architecture’ came to know Charles and Ray Eames many decades ago helping subtly influence the shaping of what I like to call ‘Modern San Diego’ – a cluster of progressives, as Esther McCoy called them, that made real a unique post-war design ethos here.

The film itself is a first – a comprehensive survey of the life and work of Charles and Ray Eames. Much of the material housed at the Library of Congress, the family’s own Eames Foundation and Eames Office archives and in the hands of collectors worldwide. The film, as a project, was several years in the making. Years prior to Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey coming together to produce this feature, and during my prior career with PBS, I was speaking with American Masters’s Susan Lacy and grandson Eames Demetrios about a film biography needed to follow the 1999 exhibition The Work of Charles and Ray Eames, A Legacy of Invention. At that time, years ago, we all agreed a documentary was needed - and American Masters kept it on the list until now. Years later, we are here together, tonight, to watch the first film tackling this amazing story. Enjoy the film, the evening, and the holiday season ahead.”

Allied Gardens home (ca. 1955) by Palmer & Krisel. Photograph by Julius Shulman

Thursday December 15, 2011

Many have asked me about ‘Drogin Homes’. As with Joseph Eichler’s name incorrectly referred to as the architect of ‘Eichler Homes’, Leonard Drogin's (1909-1968) Drogin Construction Co. hired others to design the neighborhoods he developed – most notably William Krisel of the firm Palmer & Krisel. Near SDSU, the neighborhood of College Heights was started by Leonard Drogin’s Harmony Homes Company. Drogin took full control of the company in 1954 and developed several tracts thereafter. College View Estates, where local developer Leonard Drogin, resided was also one of his earliest “high end” tracts, featuring both pre-built and custom homes. The tract was popular with many professionals and San Diego State College faculty. Several of the homes in the Aztec Heights subdivision feature Palmer & Krisel’s California Contemporary style home built for Drogin’s “Pacifica” tract on Mt. Soledad. This design won Life Magazine’s Best Designed Home of 1960 award. By this time Drogin was one of the larger tract developer companies in San Diego opening tracts in La Mesa, Oak Park, Lemon Grove, Chula Vista, Clairemont, Del Cerro, and Soledad Mountain. Leonard's son Stephen B. Drogin was born June 15, 1939, in Jamaica, N.Y., to Leonard and Miriam Drogin. The family moved to San Diego in 1948. He graduated from Grossmont High School in 1957 and earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Whittier College in 1961. Having worked for his father's business, the Drogin Construction Co., for about five years, the son launched his own firm. The longtime San Diego resident founded The Drogin Co. in the 1960s and developed homes, apartments and commercial property throughout Southern California, Arizona and Hawaii.

Happy Birthday to Oscar Neimeyer - he turns 104 today! Read more HERE.

Thanks to one of our intrepid detectives, we located the Chuck B. Hope Residence. The 1962 home is located at 676 Albion Street in Point Loma. Back in September we posted the query 'Where is It?' and we finally got an answer. Drive by the home - it looks to be in great shape (and still owned by Hope's widow).

Palace Garden Mobile Home Park (1963) by Robert Ferris. Photo by George Lyons

Friday December 9, 2011

Bedhead Pajamas, in collaboration with LACMA, has created a collection using a 1954 Paul László textile design exhibited in their “California Design, 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way” exhibition. The new line features men’s, women’s and children’s pajamas, t-shirts, boxer shorts, table runners and napkins. Read more HERE.

A new book, 'Julius Shulman's Los Angeles,' by Christopher James Alexander, is a 60-image collection including Case Study Houses, Union Station and downtown's vintage office buildings, the Wilshire Boulevard corridor, the region's coffee shops and movie theaters, the sweeping canopy of the Century Plaza Hotel and L.A.'s diverse residential neighborhoods. Read a bit more HERE.

Speaking of Arts & Architecture's Case Study House Program, you can see CSH #22 by Pierre Koenig at a number of forthcoming showings HERE.

I just launched a page for Robert Ferris HERE. I am looking for any information on his life and work!

To promote Pacific Standard Time, Ice Cube appears in a video waxing poetic about
Los Angeles, architecture, and iconic husband/wife designers Charles and Ray Eames. Check it out HERE.

Thursday December 8, 2011

On January 21, I will host a talk with Robert Mosher entitled “Modernism Defined by Someone Who Committed It”. Please join us at 930AM at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design. More information is available HERE.

A new book, Alexander Girard (Ammo Books) by designer Todd Oldham, is causing quite a stir amongst those that think highly of Girard's productive design career. Learn more HERE.

This Streamline Modern home in Point Loma (ca. 1936) is up for sale again. We would like to see
someone purchase this home - restore it and furnish with early examples of works by Mies Van Der Rohe,
Le Corbusier, Water Gropius etc etc etc... Check out the recent price reduction HERE.
Drop me a line if you want to see the home HERE.

Sunday December 4, 2011

It’s hard to find two Pacific Standard Time shows more different than “San Diego’s Craft Revolution: From Post-War Modern to California Design” and “Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface.” The former, at San Diego’s Mingei International Museum, traces the evolution of craft practices from classic midcentury modernism to something stranger and homegrown; the latter, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, looks at 1960s and '70s sculpture and installations that probe the mechanics and mysteries of perception. One is overflowing with wooly, knobby, handcrafted objects; the other features the sparest interventions in space via plastics, lighting and architectural alterations. But in their distinct ways, each is emblematic of a questioning, exploratory spirit that characterized much California art of the period. Read the rest of the article HERE.

Our showing of Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter is SOLD OUT. We are already working on our next event for January so stay tuned!

I just posted a Batter Kay Associates page HERE.

This coming Saturday - December 10 from 4-6pm Edward Cell Art + Architecture and the Society of Architectural Historians’ Southern California Chapter will host a free lecture and book signing by Hicks Stone, son of Edward Durell Stone, and author of the new book Edward Durell Stone: A Son's Untold Story of a Legendary Architect. Edward Durrell Stone was one of the more controversial figures of 20th-century architecture. Refreshments will be provided, and books will be available for purchase and signing by the author. THE PROGRAM IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Please RSVP. 323-525-0053 or email More information is HERE.

Ray Eames with an early prototype version of The Toy.
Photo taken outside the Eames House in 1951.

Saturday December 3, 2011


The Mingei has launched a page detailing our exclusive showing of Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter HERE.

SignOnSanDiego just posted an obituary for Dale Naegle HERE.


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