BLOG ARCHIVE - March 2007

March 26, 2007

I have been invited to host the AIA San Diego Annual Design Awards June 30th at the Williams/Tsien designed Neurosciences Institute. Please join us to celebrate local design.

The Mingei Museum has extended the John Dirks show (due to high demand) through May '07. If you have yet to see this stirring one-man show, now you have no excuse.

Speaking of museum exhibitions, make sure you see the work of local enamelists Ellamarie & Jackson Wooley at the Long Beach Museum of Art show entitled Painting with Fire: Masters of Enameling in America, 1930-1980.

March 23, 2007

A few small things to share... on the eve of what will be another fantastic weekend exploring local sites and their residents. Today was back-to-back meetings with the AIA Design Awards committee and then off to the San Diego Moderns meeting.

John Mock's Hindman Residence has a new owner. And not just any new owner - one that has already had John Mock over to the house to assess the 1980s remodels. Congrats to the new occupants and we, here at Modern San Diego HQ, hope you enjoy every day you spend in the house.

A few new real estate listings will be up shortly -- always good to have new stuff for you to look at.

If you missed it, here is an excellent NY Times article on Paul Rudolph.

Also, here is an excellent NY Times article on Mies Van Der Rohe's Tugendhat House in Brno, Czechoslovakia you can read here.

March 17, 2007

I kicked off a 4-day weekend of activity with my first visit to Sim Bruce Richards' residence for Admiral Hord designed in 1952. While the picture to the right only reflects a portion of the house, imagine one of the rarest of land parcels in the county -- on the northern shore of Coronado facing the downtown skyline. The most curious part of this journey was that the current owner of the Hord Residence is the second-wife to the original owner of my home. The Hord Residence is simply a treasure.

On the unfortunate side of my trip to Coronado -- I witnessed the horrible home being built where Lloyd Ruocco's steel and glass masterpiece, the Northcutt Residence, once stood only a few houses away from where I parked my car. The same owner that demolished Northcutt has also razed another mid-century one-story house on First Street. So he spent approximately $20M on two lots (Northcutt was originally listed for $15M), took down two houses, and is building on one, selling the other as a vacant lot. The dirt lot is now for sale for $5M. A whole different world of real estate for sure.

Right before heading out to the Modernism Committee Meeting, Mr. Ursillo sent over this NY Times article A Museum Takes Steps to Collect Houses.

At the meeting, we discussed the planning for SOHO's Rancho to Ranch House preservation weekend. I, unfortunately, have to work that weekend and will miss the whole thing. Please check it out.

On Saturday, I was finally able to witness the Bauer Residence by Sim Bruce Richards in El Cajon. Nicknamed "Hex House" by Richards as he built the house based on a hexagonal module. An idea he no doubt gleaned from Frank Lloyd Wright. Having met the son, and labor force, Mark Bauer a few months ago, I was stunned that the house even surpassed his description. Interviewed by the original owners upon the sale, the current owners have taken pride in their acquisition and lived up to the expectations placed upon them by the Bauer family. A real treat.

Following a stellar turn-out to our Brunch event this morning (pic on right), I ventured out to see a few more folks that have visited ModernSanDiego recently and invited me over. The afternoon started at the Dr. and Mrs. Budd Residence by Jackson Scott. Built in 1950, this house design is akin to those of the late 40s and early 50s by Richard Wheeler in San Diego and Point Loma. The house shows its 5-decade age well. The bones are good and the new owner is delighted with what she has.

Next on the agenda was Sim Bruce Richards' Paul & Parthie Engstrand Residence (1964). Easily the most stunning Richards design in all of San Diego, the James Hubbell chandelier in the entry court took my breath away -- that, after it was already stolen by the Hubbell stained glass, door handle and window framing. The current owners, as one would expect, love living in this home each and every day.

The final stop on today's tour was the Harry Ruja Residence (1957). I had been really curious about this home for the past week upon learning it was by an architect I had yet to discover. As the story goes, the owner knew Lloyd Ruocco through his teaching position at San Diego State College (he in Philosophy, Lloyd's wife Ilse in the Art Department). While Ruocco was a bit more expensive than his salary would allow for, Harry Ruja was given the name James F. Bernard by Lloyd Ruocco. I am only at the beginning of this story, but the house, reminiscent of a Palmer & Krisel tract home, may have been among the very few designed by Bernard. Apparently he died a few years after this house was completed. I hope to gather more information in the coming days to share with the owner as well as visitors to this site.

March 11, 2007

I am having one crazy modern weekend... Friday kicked off the weekend with our monthly San Diego Modern Masters meeting to plan a tour of SD Modernism later this year. As always it was great to see Robert, Homer, Dick, Neil, Jack, John and everyone else from the SD Architecture Foundation.

Yesterday was tied up doing research on Sim Bruce Richards' connection to Frank Lloyd Wright. In the middle of the day, a gentleman named Bruce Richards emailed me. Startled, that Sim Bruce Richards (who died in 1983) had risen from the dead and scored a hotmail account, this Bruce knew the other Bruce while he was still alive. Apparently they used to get phonebook-searchers phone messages for each other and would call regularly to exchange messages. Like me, this Bruce failed to meet the other prior to his passing. I have several site visits lined up of Richards' work in the coming weeks -- and am very excited about all of them.

Today was a tour of Bobertz, Cole and Lillie Residences with folks from out of town. Later today, I am going to do some research on Ray Kappe's work. Friday I learned of a Kappe design in Point Loma despite his flat-out telling others he did not design anything in San Diego. Maybe it is a Kappe design, or someone that just loved his design ethos, or perhaps the house was by his partner Rex Lotery. I know of at least one house by Lotery - the former owner of which told me of at least one more in San Diego - so hopefully there are others. All this is to say -- once again it is too late to call Rex and ask. He died five weeks ago.

Rex Lotery (1930 - 2007)

Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, died January 31, 2007 with his family at his bedside. Born outside London August 19, 1930 to Gwenyth and Edward Lotery, the family immigrated to Manhattan in 1939 and later moved to Scarsdale, New York. In 1952 Rex received his Bachelor of Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he was a member of the Delta Kai Epsilon.
Rex was a partner of L.A firm of Kahn, Kappe, Lotery, Boccato from 1969 to 1984. From 1984 to 1992, Rex served as President of Urban Innovations Group at UCLA where he delighted in mentoring the work of emerging young architects.
Rex won several awards for his innovative contemporary residential work. Considered ahead of his time by his colleagues, Rex is remembered for his deep ethical concerns for the environment and for his profession's responsibility to the social and economic well being of the community, concerns he advanced as President of the Southern California Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1973 and later as a member of the AIA national board of directors.



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