BLOG ARCHIVE - October 2007

Wednesday, October 31

For those seeking a clearer understanding of San Francisco’s architectural history and representative sites are in for a real treat. An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area was just released by author Susan Dinkelspiel Cerny. With more than 500 pages of text and over 2,000 entries, the book reflects the region’s history from Gold Rush to Eichler subdivisions to dot-com boom. Read more here.

Only two days remaining until Nature: Objectified.


Case Study Triad House "C" (1960), Killingsworth, Brady & Smith
from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976)
2329 Rue de Anne, La Jolla / Photo by Robert Ward

Tuesday, October 30

Modern San Diego, in partnership with Objects USA presents “Celebrate the Holidays in Pt. Loma Modern Style” an evening of architecture, art, food and cocktails at The Pearl, San Diego’s premiere Modern hotel and restaurant on Sunday December 2nd at 6pm. The event will include great food and specialty cocktails provided by The Pearl, a presentation titled “Pt. Loma Modern”, and a complimentary raffle of vintage modern art by ObjectsUSA.com. The Pearl is located at 1410 Rosecrans St., San Diego, CA. 92106 or 877-PEARLSD.

RIP: Beth Montes (1965-2007), President of Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) passed away on October 29, 2007 after a 7-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Only three days remaining until Nature: Objectified. Be sure not to miss this event.

Modern San Diego will be organizing a trip up to LA to see the exhibition "Julius Shulman's Los Angeles" (at L.A.'s Central Library) put together by the Getty Research Institute. Stay tuned for details on a coordinated visit to see 150 rarely seen photographs from the Julius Shulman photography archive. If you want to go on your own, the show is open through January 20, 2008. More information is available here. The Los Angeles Times write-up on the show is here.

Speaking of Julius Shulman, the Craig Krull Gallery currently has an exhibit "Julius Shulman & Juergen Nogai: Recent Architectural" on view through November 20th. More information is available here.

Grand Rapids’ "Alcoa Care-free Home", a model house of the future in 1957, is profiled here. Designed by Charles M. Goodman, of Washington, D.C., as a project for the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). Alcoa planned to construct 50 such houses at selected locations throughout the United States.

An exhibit “Close to home: Edward Loewenstein and Modernism in Greensboro” opens Nov. 6 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. But it’s not just a retrospective. Researchers are actively trying to learn more about Loewenstein’s portfolio of 1,600 commissions and hope this exhibit will yield new information coming forth from visitors, former clients and employees alike. Loewenstein, an inventive architect in the post-World War II era, first established his design practice in Greensboro in the 1940s. Curators say he was heavily influenced by Gropius, Wright and Mies. Read more here.


St Peter's Seminary in Cardross, Scotland (1966)

Monday, October 29

Planning a trip to Scotland? Well, now you have to add architecture to your itinerary. A wide array of structures were the product of an optimistic period when a Glasgow practice, Gillespie, Kidd & Coia (GKC), would acquire a wider reputation for its conspicuously modern designs. Architectural writer Patrick Nuttgens, recognized the talent early on. "Suddenly," he wrote about Coia in 1962, "to background music by Le Corbusier and Niemeyer, he launched into most vital and thrilling designs with an almost cavalier disregard for building construction and maintenance." A new exhibition “Gillespie, Kidd & Coia: Architecture 1956-87” at the Lighthouse, Glasgow (through February 10, 2008) highlights the firm’s decades of design work. Two of the firm’s principal designers Andrew MacMillan and Isi Metzstein, both 79, are enjoying the attention. Read the story and compile a list of sightseeing stops here.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s "Water Dome" for Florida Southern College has been dry for decades. Engineers could never make it work right. Now, nearly 70 years after Wright first planned it, the fountain finally gushed into the three-story high dome of water he envisioned thanks to modern engineers, technology and computer control. Read more here.


Case Study Triad House "B" (1960), Killingsworth, Brady & Smith
from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976)
2343 Rue de Anne, La Jolla / Photo by Robert Ward

Sunday, October 28

On view this weekend at San Francisco’s Fall Antiques Show is the exhibition “Taste for the 20th Century: Modern Design Classics From San Francisco Collections.”  “What is modern design?,” Jared Goss, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, asks in a catalog essay about the exhibition.  He quotes Edgar Kaufmann Jr “Modern design should blend the expression of utility, materials and process into a visually satisfactory whole,” Mr. Kaufmann wrote. It “should be simple, its structure evident in its appearance, avoiding extraneous enrichment.” He added, “Modern design should express the spirit of our times.” Read more here.

This weekend, Sollo Rago Modern in Lambertville, N.J., is selling more than 1,000 lots of 20th-century design. See their catalog here.


Clarence Bruck House (1965), Robert E. Jones
from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976)
3202 Rue Adrian, La Jolla / Photo by George Lyons

Saturday, October 27

In addition to the three exhibits on modernism on view in Los Angeles currently (written about previously here), San Diego residents and viewers can take advantage of three local exhibitions showcasing a wide array of post-War art and craft.

A new exhibit on local modernist “Everett Gee Jackson/San Diego Modern, 1920–1955” opens on  November 3rd at the San Diego Museum of Art. This major retrospective presents the work of Everett Gee Jackson, one of San Diego’s most important Modernist artists. Featuring more than 50 works that span the most significant and productive decades of the artist’s career, San Diego Modern presents a representative range of Jackson’s multi-faceted work, while contextualizing Jackson within the broader scope of mid-twentieth century American modernism.

Robert Irwin: Primaries and Secondaries” is on view at MCASD Downtown through February 23, 2008. The survey, spanning over 50 years of work, is the largest exhibition of Irwin’s work since 1993. The exhibition features his early abstract expressionist paintings, minimal canvases, early sculptural objects, and large installations.

Craft in America,” a landmark, historical survey featuring more than 200 works, spanning a period of nearly 200 years is running through January 27 at the Mingei International Museum. The exhibition highlights include designer craftsmen of the Arts & Crafts Movement, the artists of the 1930s WPA programs and post World War II studio craft pioneers (including Sam Maloof and George Nakashima).

A new book, Building Cambodia: New Khmer Architecture: 1953-1970, offers insight into the striking Khmer modernist architectural movement of the 1950s and 1960s. No longer protected by the time warp created by the lost years of the Khmer Rouge tyranny of the 1970s, at risk are many distinctive modernist buildings constructed in the 1950s and 1960s by Khmer architects. According  to the text, it was a true local school of design - a "new Khmer architecture" expressing a lost golden age of optimism and modernization after independence in 1953. Read more here.


Max L. Busch House (1963), Robert E. Jones
from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976)
2412 Ocean Front, Del Mar / Photo by Douglas Simmonds

Friday, October 26

The plan to memorialize FDR with a monument designed by Louis Kahn at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in the Upper East Side (of NYC) is back in consideration.The plan by Kahn, was announced in 1973, when Welfare Island was renamed in Roosevelt’s honor. A triangular lawn, flanked by riverside promenades, would slope gently down to the tip of the island. There, almost like the period in an exclamation point, would be an open-air “room” — as Kahn called it — framed by granite walls on all but the south side, which commands a panoramic view. The project was sidelined by the mid-’70s fiscal crisis. Read more here.


Russell Babcock House (1959), Kendrick Bangs Kellogg
from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976)
2695 Bayside Walk, Mission Beach / Photo by Ken Kellogg

Wednesday, October 24

With coverage of the San Diego County wildfires hitting news rooms internationally, I am sure you are well aware of the situation here. Many of you have emailed your concerns and well wishes - and even some emails have come in asking for updates on the threat to architecture the fires have posed. In the coming days and weeks I will try to ascertain if we have lost any distinguished architecture and historic sites. Wildfires have swept through neighborhoods new and old containing mid-century inventory so the threat to our modernist heritage is real.


Lightner Hillman Office (1967), Mosher and Drew Architects
from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976)
3104 4th Avenue, San Diego / Photo by Julius Shulman

Tuesday, October 23

It all started humbly enough. “Fifty years ago, modern fabrics weren’t readily available,” says Jack Lenor Larsen, in his small, chic Manhattan apartment. After getting an M.F.A. from Cranbrook, Larsen started his eponymous firm in New York in 1952 because the company he wanted to work for—Knoll—wouldn’t hire him. Read the New York Times profile of Larsen here.

The New Canaan Historical Society’s 2007 Modern House Tour, featuring examples rarely seen by the public, will be held Saturday, November 3. The tour includes moderns designed by industrial designer and “Harvard Five” architect Eliot Noyes, Edward Durell Stone, Taliesin Fellow Jack Howe, John Black Lee and Victor Christ-Janer. Symposium speakers include “Harvard Five” architect John Johansen, furniture designer Jens Risom and New York architect Peter Gluck, who will address the place of modern architecture, past and present. More information can be found here.

The 1956 Thomas Brothers "Popular Atlas of San Diego County" has been scanned. Check it out here.


Crabtree Building (1962) by Deems-Martin Associates.
from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976)
3rd & A Streets, Downtown

Sunday, October 21

The above photo is among the first of a batch from the AIA Guide To San Diego Architecture (1976) being uploaded by John Henderson. Join our Discussion Forum and go to the photos section to see more. If you are not familiar with the Crabtree Building check out the site here or the owner Hodge N. Crabtree's 1962 residence (by Liebhardt & Weston) here.

Barcelona 1900, a major exhibition of "modernisme" before modernism at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is open until January 20. Read a review here or visit the museum's site here.

The Hollywood Reporter, arguably among the last places one expects to read about architecture, reported the following:
Frank Lloyd Wright believed that California awakens in people an urge to reinvent themselves. Many people live out these fantasies through their houses: Spanish Colonials that dial into Southern California's romantic missionary past; contemporary dwellings that project a feeling of newness; downtown lofts that tap into the bohemian world of starving artists and industrial chic; Craftsman houses that convey a sense of heritage and closeness to nature. … even McMansions -- those enormous homes built on lots intended for dwellings half their size -- connect people to the tradition of English manor houses and make them feel like lords of their own domains...According to DAK Kopec, associate professor at the New School of Architecture & Design in San Diego, "A lot of people are looking for unique homes, which often translates to the older homes, which in Southern California tends to translate to lower square footage. So you're looking at homes between 900 and maybe 1,700 square feet....When it comes to the mood of our nation as a whole, no trend speaks more loudly than the midcentury modern home craze. "People are going back to them partially because that period of time -- the late '40s and '50s and '60s -- was a time of tremendous optimism; (there was) a very strong sense of security in the country as a whole," says Painter. "The financial markets are jittery and weird, and there's a huge housing bubble. People are maybe going back to that midcentury tradition because it provides a sense of us having control over what's going to happen.

November 24th will be the fourth anniversary of Modern San Diego. I have no idea what to do to celebrate that milestone. Drop me a line if you have a suggestion.

With over 1,500 users this month, your company should consider advertising on the site. Contact us for opportunities here.


Sir Basil Spence’s Spence Residence (ca 1960-66)

Friday, October 19

British brutalist architect Basil Spence continues to raise eyebrows for many of his designs labeled as monstrous, genius, ugly etc. His Library at Swiss Cottage, Coventry cathedral, Glasow airport and the University of Sussex are among Spence's projects being reviewed by a new exhibit "Back to the Future: Sir Basil Spence (1907-1976), Celebration of a Modern Architect" at the Dean Gallery, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh. The exhibit focusing on the man who designed more 1960s university buildings than anyone else in Britain, including the campus at Sussex, runs from October 19 to February 10, 2008. Read a review here or go to the Spence Archive Project site here.

Now, as he nears his 100th birthday on Dec. 15, Oscar Niemeyer has a desk full of projects in his Rio De Janeiro penthouse office. His flowing forms made a modernist statement of Brasilia, the government center that rose from the empty plains of central Brazil. He also helped design the United Nations headquarters in New York City, insisting on the grand curves of its General Assembly building. Read more about Mr. Niemeyer on the eve of his 100th here.

Read about seven architecturally significant homes that can be had for bargain prices. For those budget-concious architecture geeks that don't mind moving, read about residences currently on the market designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolf Schindler, Cliff May, Bruce Goff, Keck & Keck and others here.


Hunt Residence (1955) in Malibu by Craig Ellwood & Associates

Tuesday, October 16

Culver City’s Museum of Design Art + Architecture presents their new exhibition “80 Years of Jerrold Lomax, FAIA” October 26 - January 3, 2008. Beginning with a 7:00 PM opening on 10/26 with Lomax present, the show focuses on the life and work of this architectural maestro. Known for his design leadership at Craig Ellwood’s architecture studio (1954-1961), Jerrold Lomax himself may well be one of the most overlooked masters of the late Case-Study movement. During his tenure with Ellwood, Lomax worked onover 20 building designs. For more information click here. 

Knoxville, TN modernist pioneer Bruce McCarty first gained national attention in the 1950s for innovative home designs promoted by the National Broadcasting Co., Hotpoint Corp. and the National Association of Homebuilders. McCarty cites his own house, built in 1951 on Cherokee Boulevard in Knoxville’s Sequoyah Hills neighborhood, as the project “I feel most comfortable with.” Read more here.

Monday, October 15

With the assistance of ModernSanDiego visitors, I have been able to gather enough information on the architect Clyde Hufbauer. You can view his bio here. This is truly what I was hoping this site would foster - the community coming together to collaborate on documenting San Diego's recent past.

I just bought a Fred Hocks painting entitled "Terrestrial Time/Sidereal Time" (1958) and started asking people like Dave Hampton about him. Apparently Robert Matheny found some information online and now ModernSanDiego has a mini-biography of him up. Check it out here.

Speaking of Dave Hampton -- he and his partners Ron Kerner and Steve Aldana are readying their next exhibition and sale "Nature: Objectified". If you have not attended -- this is a must-see opportunity.

Friday, October 12

The new book TASCHEN: The A-Z of Modern Architecture - is reviewed here.

Even the residents of Thailand are facing demolition of important parts of their built environment. Read about a current threat to a Bangkok 1932 courthouse here.

Yet another New York Times article featuring a new house reflective of mid-century modernist aesthetics can be found here.

Julius Shulman turned 97 Wednesday. To mark the occasion, the Getty Center has organized a sweeping treatment of his photography that opened last weekend and runs through January at the Central Library downtown. Read more here.

“Marcel Breuer: Design and Architecture” explores his furniture, interiors, and buildings. The touring exhibition makes its exclusive North American stop at the National Building Museum from November 3, 2007 through February 17, 2008. More information is available here.

Monday, October 8

An A. Quincy Jones house in the famed Crestwood Hills neighborhood was somehow destroyed despite strict CCRs in the neighborhood and heightened visibility of the neighborhood and Jones' work with a recent MAK tour. Read the LA Curbed piece here or via the Crestwood Blog here.

A retrospective of one of San Diego's leading mid-20th-century artists “Everett Gee Jackson/San Diego Modern, 1925-1955,” opens Nov. 3 at the San Diego Museum Art. The exhibit will kick off a series of exhibitions at the Museum of Art focusing on notables of the region's art history.

Read the LA Times' review of Orange County Museum of Art's new show "Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury" here. Gathering more than 150 objects, "Cool" includes work from Ray and Charles Eames "as well as photographs by Julius Shulman, whose meticulous portraits of Case Study homes (built between 1945 and 1966 under the auspices of Arts & Architecture magazine) established Southern California as a breezy outpost of International Style."

Saturday, October 6

Want to know one man's (writer's) opinion on the best modern structures in the world? Check out the article from The Guardian here.

A La Cañada/Flintridge restoration/remodel of a 1958 mid-century modern home on Hampstead Road is part of a self-guided tour of kitchens in the area. More information is here.

Friday, October 5

The Modern Masters Committee of the San Diego Architectural Foundation has spent considerable time developing a San Diego definition of Modern Architecture. Committee members included Homer Delawie, Robert Mosher, John Henderson, Angeles Leira, Jack Carpenter, Keith York and others. You can read this definition the committee submitted to the City of San Diego for adoption here.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions, with co-curator Gerard O'Brien (Reform Gallery), is offering a great selection of California Design in its October 14th auction. The catalogue is now availalbe to view online here.

Ken Kellogg's Scott Shore Residence (ca. 1986) is up for sale. Check it out here.

Monday, October 1

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s new exhibition, reframes abstract expressionism.  Coupling two American abstractionists with two Europeans, the curator draws us to consider how the New York School was worlds ahead of its European cousins. "Painting after abstract expressionism," chief curator, Michael Auping,  says, "became mannerist. Many artists turned to sculpture and three-dimensional space." "Declaring Space, Works by Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Lucio Fontana and Yves Klein” takes a contrarian path and remains there through January 6, 2008. More here.

Tomorrow night tune in to KPBS-TV or KPBS-HD at 10:30PM for "Saved From the Wrecking Ball" and see Modern San Diego's first media buy. Your donation dollars hard at work.

 


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