BLOG ARCHIVE - July 2008


Del Rey Hotel and Apartments (circa 1954) at 3455 Del Rey Street, San Diego, CA 92109

Wednesday, July 30

At the midpoint of the last century the era's leading American journal, Arts & Architecture focused not only on architecture but also design, art, music, politics, and social issues. A&A was an ambitious and groundbreaking publication, largely thanks to the inspiration of its then-publisher John Entenza. Commanding higher and higher figures via Ebay and book collector venues, Taschen is going to really deliver the goods this fall. The publisher’s new reprint collection comes with ten boxes, each containing a complete year’s worth of Arts & Architecture magazines from 1945-1954. That’s 6,076 pages in 118 issues reproduced in their entirety—beginning with Entenza’s January 1945 announcement of the Case Study House program. Additionally the collection includes a supplement booklet with an original essay by former A&A publisher David Travers; all the covers and contents; and a selected index to articles. Limited to 5000 numbered copies, “Arts & Architecture 1945-54” will be followed in the future by a second volume, 1955-1967, bringing together all the existing issues. Pre-order it from Amazon.Com HERE.

Speaking of new publications, "Cliff May and the Modern Ranch House" is on sale at Amazon HERE.


"Main Entry - Exchange Bldg. - Navy Exchange, NAS Miramar"
by Robert Platt & Assoc. AIA (dated January 1963)

Monday, July 28

Sergio and Andrej (previous owners of Gala Home Furnishings and Antiques & Stuff) have closed their old shops and opened up Klassik Mid-Century Modern on Kettner near David Skelley’s Boomerang. Check out their shop at 989 W Kalmia Street, San Diego, Ca 92101; give them a ring at (619) 640-6995 or go online HERE.

Architect Nicolas ''Lin'' Arroyo, known best for his part in Cuba's modernist architecture movement, died on July 13 or heart complication in Washington at the age of 90. Arroyo developed several notable structures during his life, including the Havana Hilton Hotel and the Ciudad Deportiva in the Cuban capital of Havana, El Nuevo Herald noted Friday.

Planning on heading to London soon? The Victoria & Albert Museum (“The V&A”) will host “Cold War Modern: Design 1945-1970” a new exhibition between September 25 to 11 January. The show will cover the rise of consumerism and art and design. Works by Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso and Asger Jorn will be included in the art, while the architecture and design will include Eames, Le Corbusier and Buckminster Fuller. Additionally ceramics, textiles, metalwork, print, urban projects and films of the period will be covered in the survey.

Curious about what Albert Frey's or E. Stewart Williams' headstones look like? Check out this article on desert-area cemetaries.

In his review of "Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling" (at the NEw York's Museum of Modern Art between July 20–Oct. 20) Tim Paul guides us through pre-fab's history by modernists Walter Gropius, Marcel Breur, Jean Prouve and others. Check it out HERE.

Joan Rodgers, a 62-year-old Scottsdale real estate agent, joins a growing group of those asserting they own a Jackson Pollock work. Including Teri Horton of Costa Mesa, the subject of the documentary called "Who The Fuck is Jackson Pollock," and Norman Wasserman of Brooklyn, N.Y., whose abstract painting ignited a debate in the early 1990s among Pollock scholars. Learn more about Rodgers and her painting HERE.

French 50s - 60s is back. Closed for an extended building renovation, the mid-century modern furniture store specializing in French design is open once again. Check them out HERE or visit the store at Abbot Kinney Blvd & Milwood in Venice.

Wallace E. Cunningham's "Razor" is up for sale. The 11,000 square-foot La Jolla residence is going for $39 million. Check it out HERE.


"Acey-Ducey Bar - EM Club, NAS Miramar" by Robert Platt & Assoc. AIA
(dated 1/29/63)

Friday, July 25

Thanks to all who came out to screen "First Person Singular: I.M. Pei" presented by the San Diego Architectural Foundation. Jennifer Luce introduced the film, one family drove from the Los Angeles area to attend and there was a ton of great conversations before and after the presentation. If you missed the first two films in the SDAF Movie Night series, please don't hesitate to attend the Modern San Diego presentation of "My Architect" on Thursday, September 25.

Architect Russell Francis Stechschulte died in San Francisco of complications from pneumonia on June 22. He was 83. Known widely for his modernist designs for Olympic Village at Squaw Valley (for the 1960 winter games) including the Blyth Ice Skating Arena, Spectator Center and Athletes' Residence Hall, Stechschulte worked for the architectural firms of Kitchen & Hunt, and Corlett & Spackman as well as Walter A. Hansen and Fisher Friedman Associates in addition to working for himself.

In November Robert A.M. Stern's new book "The Philip Johnson Tapes" will reach retail. Stern conducted a series of ten interviews with Johnson, each covering a decade of his life, that form the basis for the upcoming publication. Amazon already has it available for pre-order HERE.

Phaidon just released “Le Corbusier Le Grand” and it is grand. Almost a foot and a half tall and nearly 20 pounds, it's not a book in the conventional sense at all so much as a giant scrap book, with family pictures, letters, documents, architectural drawings, many period photographs of his projects and lots of pages from his sketchbooks. Text is kept to a minimum, just enough to introduce the events of Corbu's life from his birth in 1887 to his death in 1965. Amazon has it for sale HERE.


"Cafeteria - Navy Exchange, NAS Miramar" by Robert Platt & Assoc. AIA
(dated 1/29/63)

Thursday, July 24

The folks at BestCollegesOnline have put together a list of the 25 most modern libraries in the world including two in San Diego. Of the Geisel Library, they wrote: This library isn't particularly modern in function, but is notable for its design which resembles a large metal and glass treehouse. It shows that libraries can be innovative and sometimes even notable parts of the architecture of cities, countries and universities. Of the downtown San Diego Public Library the site noted its "Sleek modern design at its present location." This week UCSD's in-house publication took the cue and reviewed the library's role on campus HERE.

A recent remodel of a 1927 house in Los Angeles’ Beverly Crest neighborhood features a fountain that may have been designed by the late Luis Barragán, often regarded as Mexico's greatest architect. Though the house had been a popular party spot for movie stars, musicians, artists, even royalty 40 years ago, today the property's greater claim to fame is a 5,000-square-foot swimming pool graced with a towering stone fountain. Records show that Barragán designed the fountain (in 1987)-- a surprise even to some Barragán experts who have long insisted that his only U.S. project was his consultation on Louis Kahn's plaza for the Salk Institute in La Jolla. Read more HERE.

The Formica Corporation and Houston Mod announce a joint effort to assist in the preservation of Houston's historic "Formica House". In partnership with Houston Mod, the Formica Corporation has generously offered to donate up to $5,000 in laminate materials to a new owner that commits to an appropriate restoration of the house. Built in 1964 as a showcase for the many uses of Formica® products by local distributor Larry Stephens, the house inspired countless interior designers and architects with its ingenious use of laminate surfaces.

The town of Wellfleet, MA approved a request by the Cape Cod Modern House Trust for a grant of $100,000 for restoration of the Kugel/Gips house. Funds will be available in September when the lease from the National Seashore is in hand. Check out the site HERE.

Cape Cod Modern House Trust’s third Modern House Tour, in collaboration with Castle Hill Center for the Arts, is scheduled for August 24.Tickets are available at http://www.castlehill.org. The tour includes a power point presentation on Modernism on the Outer Cape and a reception afterwards at the Saarinen house. We are hoping to include the Murchison house in Provincetown ( by Gropius and TAC) in the tour. More on this later.

“Local Color: Washington Painting at Midcentury,” on view at the Smithsonian American Art through Oct. 13, presents 27 large-scale paintings from the museum’s permanent collection. The installation examines the cross influences of Washington-based artists between the mid-1950s and mid-1970s when the nation’s capital was home to one of the most dynamic artistic communities in the country. Read more HERE.

Prague's varied architectural styles – from Baroque to functionalism – can be witnessed in the space of a few minutes. The Czech capital's contemporary architecture is the subject of a new exhibition entitled The New Face of Prague, which has just opened at the city’s Czech Centre. Read more HERE.


"Enlisted Mens Lounge - EM Club, NAS Miramar" by Robert Platt & Assoc. AIA
(dated 1/29/63)

Wednesday, July 23

This Thursday (July 24), The San Diego Architectural Foundation will show the film "First Person Singular: I.M. Pei". Doors open at 6:30 p.m., the film screens at 7:30 p.m. at Luce Loft, 1037 J Street, downtown San Diego. The film will be introduced by Jennifer Luce, AIA. Please attend -- and if asked tell them (or me) that you heard about the movie screening here on MSD.

On a related note, on Thursday, September 25 I will host an evening with the film "My Architect" about the genius Louis Kahn (as told by his long lost son). If you have not seen this film, or cannot make any of the other film screenings, please attend this one and tell all of your friends. Let's fill up the "Luce Loft" with fans of Kahn's work (and great documentaries) so we can keep this type of film screening going in the future. Put it in your calendar right now. ModernSanDiego will be sponsoring the evening -- and keeping it cheap. A $10 donation is always encouraged!

At age 97, Reuters profiles architectural photographer Julius Shulman HERE.

SignOnSanDiego reports on the two developers' plans for City Hall. While we can all disagree that the building is "antiquated" and "dilapidated" until the cows come home - we should all know who the players are in revitalizing and/or destroying this significant artifact of San Diego's modernist heritage. Read more HERE.

London’s Royal Festival Hall (1951) by Leslie Martin, Peter Moro and Robert Matthew is one of six buildings in the running for the Stirling prize, which is awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects and honours the project "that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year". Read more HERE.


"Silver Gate Yacht Club - Shelter Island" by Robert Platt & Assoc. AIA

Monday, July 14

Yours truly was interviewed in the latest issue of Riviera Magazine. Click HERE and then choose page 132 and click your mouse on the article to zoom in enough to read the article.

"Everyone we know was surprised to see that we didn't encase all of our furniture in foam rubber or put our vintage mid-century pieces into storage for the next 15 years," says Darren Bradley, who owns a Palmer & Krisel home with his wife Elise in Pacific Beach. The couple has a two-year-old daughter, Ava. "We don't really understand why, as we believe that our furniture's supposed to be used and enjoyed -- or what's the point?" Read more about our own local luminaries, The Bradleys, HERE.

The exhibition on John Lautner's work, "Between Earth and Heaven," opened at the Hammer Museum. According to the LA Times, it "...traces Lautner's lifelong quest to transcend the boundaries between shelter and nature. It also attempts to redefine the legacy of a seminal architectural pioneer so profoundly misunderstood that it took the exhibition's co-curator, Nicholas Olsberg, three months to decide whether to get involved at all." Read the review HERE.

Edinburgh architect Robert Steedman's own home (circa 1961) is up for sale and, once again, causing a stir. Read more HERE.

The University of Chicago's Law School (circa 1960) by Eero Saarinen has been saved - instead of spending $100-million on a new building the campus spent $32-million on renovation. Read more HERE.


"Building - 1919 Cable Street, Ocean Beach for Mr. John Wahl" by Robert Platt & Assoc. AIA

Saturday, July 12

"...it will be nice to have people come because of the building, not in spite of the building," stated cofounder of the classical theater company A Noise Within about moving into architect Edward Durell Stone's Stuart Pharmaceutical Building (circa 1958) in Pasadena. The company is slated to take complete renovations by 2010. Read more HERE.

Several respected architects sought refuge in Turkey in the 1930s, like Berlin's Bruno Taut. The legacy these modernists left is now seeing the light of day through a recent upswing in contemporary architecture. Read more HERE.

The Marines Medical Arts Center by Richard Neutra (1963) is again threatened. Having driven up to Newport Beach several years ago to photograph the site when it was previously threatened, it's deja vu all over again for the minimalist complex. Read more HERE.


"British Motor Sales Co. of San Diego, New Premises for BMC Products"
by Robert Platt & Assoc. AIA

Thursday, July 10

UNESCO decided to award the World Heritage status to six housing estates by Walter Gropius, Bruno Taut and Hans Scharoun in Berlin as "outstanding examples of the building reform movement that contributed to improving housing and living conditions for people with low incomes." The estates were built between 1913 and 1934 at a time when social commitment and the modernist aesthetic combined: the Berlin of the Weimar Republic. The right to decent housing had been enshrined in the new 1919 constitution where new apartments in Berlin had to have a separate bathroom and kitchen, as well as a balcony. Read more HERE.

"Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman." Eric Bricker's new film is reviewed HERE.

The Palm Beach landmarks preservation commission voted to consider the Manus House, built for Adele and Allen Manus REsidence (1960) by celebrated architect Alfred Browning Parker for landmarking. The move means that the owner cannot demolish the Manus House until the commission gives its recommendation for landmarking in November at a public hearing. Read more HERE.


In 1978, Donald Cromley, an architect who had studied with Louis Kahn and worked in the office of
Alvar Aalto completed a home in Carlsbad for Mr. and Mrs. Green. Their daughter, Susan Green, an
architecture student of Donald Cromley at the time, is also listed as an architect on the house. Owner
Rick Burrows has recently revived the ailing estate including numerous pieces of furniture that were
designed for the house. Thanks for sharing Rick!

Monday, July 7

Read a guide to buying Eames furniture (both vintage and new) while in South Florida HERE.

Son, Simon Jacobsen's family moved into a rowhouse his father, Hugh Newell Jacobsen, widely regarded as the dean of modern architects in Washington, had originally designed the home for a client. Simon discusses child-proofing a modern home HERE.

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