Saturday January 28th 2006
After spending five hours in the bunker basement of the San Diego Historical Society's archive/library, I went for a drive in the fresh air. Because of my focus on Sim Bruce Richards' work in the archive, I thought it appropriate to look for a few of his projects. The lonely little Balboa Park Golf Course Equipment and Storage Building still stands! Sadly, the garage doors have been replaced on this orphan -- dwarfed by the Golden Hill Community Center to the South, and fenced off from non-golfers, it's good to see it's, at the very least, still standing. I am still trying to determine what year it was completed. But at least there's modern in Golden Hill. About a mile to the north is Richards' Morley Field Tennis Center (1975). Cluttered with signage, overgrown foliage, bars on the windows, and tennis players, this little structure is threatened by redevelopment plans for the area. Visit it while you can. For years, I have wanted to find rundown architect-designed homes in the worst neighborhoods. While I don't personally have the capital to buy houses in "the hood" and fix them up to be shining jewels to the otherwise hopeless communities, it's a dream. Today was my second trip down 41st Street to find a Sim Bruce Richards in the heart of a sad City Heights neighborhood (hell, my street ain't so nice either...). The return trip was fruitful, I finally located the Paul Stauffer Residence by Sim Bruce Richards (1956). Photos will be posted soon of all three of these mistreated gems.
Sunday January 22nd 2006
I always find it strange to find good architecture where I have already looked. After driving Ocean Beach dozens of times and passing this unusual site, I finally located Sim Bruce Richards' Karn Residence. Great home, great owners (and as one would expect - "pictures will be posted soon"). There's a Lloyd Ruocco designed home in La Mesa up for sale. Find out more here.
Friday January 21st 2006
What a great Saturday. Bob Matheny and I drove around Point Loma today and found two Donald Goldman designs (pictures and more information on Goldman's career will be posted soon). Todd Pitman and I headed out to Poway's Green Valley neighborhood in the afternoon. Amidst the criminally insane destroying the fabric of this custom-home mecca are tearing down moderns in favor of Italianate stucco McMansions. Following a tour of a Roberth Thiele/James Hubbell home, Todd and I visited Sim Bruce Richards' Nourse Residence (circa 1963). I will post pictures shortly.
Thursday January 20th 2006
Updated draft of article on the Frank Lloyd Wright connection to San Diego uploaded today. Check it out here.
Tuesday January 18th 2006
Other than a small update to CJ Paderewski's page, there's not that much new to the site. Bree Mercer emailed to report that she's having C.J. Paderewski over for dinner to see her home (Wetherell Residence) for the first time since he designed it (50 years can be a long time). I am still a big fan of the Alvin Lustig site. The tribute these folks pay to Lustig, a lesser-known modernist figure, through this site is just inspiring. I should learn Flash and Shockwave software and make this site as wonderful as theirs. I finally located Richard Lareau and spoke with him today about getting together next week to learn more about his career. Funny how these things are right under your nose -- how about just Google-ing "Richard Lareau, Architect" Keith... duh. Anyway, I will report on my findings next week. Though this weekend was comprised of peeling back yet another layer of Point Loma architecture, most of it was done at dusk and photography wasn't working. The sunset of Sunset Cliffs was great though. This Saturday I am back in Ocean Beach and Point Loma with artist Bob Matheny in tow. The two of us are going to see what more we can discover. If you live in Point Loma, Loma Portal or Ocean Beach, wave as we drive past.
Sunday January 16th 2006
Finally, some project list updates and a biography of Sim Bruce Richards posted here.
Thursday January 12th 2006
I've got nothin' for ya today. Keep your pants on, the weekend is right around the corner, and I've got a charged-up digital camera, a full tank of fossil fuels, and a Thomas Guide...
Wednesday January 11th 2006
For those that cannot afford to own a Russell Forester painting, print or sculpture - here's an affordable way to own, and wear a piece of local art. Click here for more info on how to buy (and wear) "Red, White & Glue".
Monday January 9th 2006
Architect Ron Davis (Hester & Davis) stopped by the house today and brought some goodies -- blueprints, renderings and photos. Check out his page for updates. All we had for him was a tour of the house.
Sunday January 8th 2006
We hit La Jolla today -- and wow. The first stunning piece of work (though difficult to snap a quality photo of is Bruce Richards' Quintana Residence (1956) on Moonridge. While in the neighborhood we drove by Russell Forester's Fayman Residence only to see it completely destroyed -- this was easily one of his greatest residential designs and now it's about 10,000 sq ft. Money rarely yields good taste. Of course the cul de sac yields the Yen Residence by Ken Kellogg -- easily one of my favorite houses in the county. Heading west on Torrey Pines Road, we snapped a photo of Richards' second residence for the Clarks -- the garage has been remodeled after a stray automobile recently crashed into it. But as you can see the facade is stunning and impeccably maintained. Knowing little about Richards' 1970s designs - we located the Nemiroff and Tyson residences (1976 and 1977 respectively). Both are much more conservative than his early designs - one can guess the neighborhoods they were built in had an influence on his ability to do his best work. On the way down the hill (Rue Michael), we caught a glimpse of Liebhardt & Weston's Dunne Residence (circa 1961) and it's now my new favorite L&W design. Though difficult to comprehend from the street facade, what you can see is brilliant. While off Hidden Valley we took in John Lloyd Wright's Compton Residence (see photo on right) -- now up for sale for $2.2M. Darn near across the street is Richards' Van Dorn Residence -- and wow! Again, difficult to snap a photo of because of its siting and multi-decade old foliage, but what we saw was jaw-dropping. Ultimately our goal for being in La Jolla was to spend an afternoon with Christine Forester in her awe-inspiring home filled to gills with Russell's art. I need to take a day off from work just to digest all of what we saw in one afternoon!
Saturday January 7th 2006
I started this morning on Google trying to locate Bruce Richards' "Clairemont Community Center". I struck out on the first try, the "North Clairemont" center -- though on the route (Clairemont Mesa and Bannock), there's a cluster of strong apartment complexes, tract houses, churches and the public library branch. I had to save all of this for a future road trip -- as the South Clairemont Community Center was on the horizon. While in disrepair, the street facing facade is definitely Bruce's work. From Clairemont I headed southwest to clear up some confusion about Richards' design for local painter Dan Dickey (who died in 1961). While I failed to locate the house on Promonotory in Pacific Beach, the address may be off by a large margin and actually located somewhere in Point Loma. Does anyone know where Dan Dickey lived? From Pacific Beach, I drove south to South Mission Hills to Bruce Richards' Newsom Residence and had a fantastic chat with the long-time second owner. We gazed at the blueprints and discussed remodels, one of which was designed by Richards in 1984 right before his passing. She may have been his very last client. The last stop on today's venture was the 1968 Bryan Worthington Residence just south of Old Town -- a great house despite recent paint and garage door alterations. Check out the pics to the right.
Wednesday January 4th 2006
One of the most widely published modern houses in San Diego is now up for sale. Richard Neutra's residence for Dr. Robert E. Bond (1960) is being offered for the third time since it was built. Currently priced at $1,750,000. Elizabeth Courtier is holding an open house on Tuesday Jan. 10th, 10am-1pm. The house is located at 4449 Yerba Santa Drive in Alvarado Estates.
Tuesday January 3rd 2006
Here's your chance to visit and/or buy a John Lloyd Wright house. The Open House is tomorrow, Wednesday January 4th between 930AM-12PM at 7840 Roseland Drive, La Jolla.
The Compton Residence (1948) by John Lloyd Wright is now available for purchase for the first time in over 35 years. In this, one of his earlier works in San Diego, the visual references to his father's Usonian homes are quite evident. Set back off the street in an enclave of significant architecture, this single level L-shaped 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home is being offered at $2,195,000.