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Forester Residence III (1970-71) in La Jolla. Snappy photo by Darren Bradley.

The Forester Residence (1970-71) is the result of Russell Isley Forester, FAIA (1920-2002) and his wife Christine having combined their talents as architects to design their own home. Referencing their fondness for the International Style, they adhered to MiesVan Der Rohe’s dictate of ‘less is more’ in a two-story volume of glass, wood and steel. The couple often joked that it fit incongruously amongst its more traditional neighbors as a commercial building, or laughingly as the ‘neighborhood savings and loan’. Originally built as a single cube volume (office space and an art studio were realized later), open to the south and north through 2-story window walls, the home is surprisingly warm and comfortable. The wide-open floor plan allows distinct areas to flow together - and around the base of a central 2-story tower. The unique second level bedroom – the most private area of the house - is surrounded by negative space ingeniously defined in the absence of walls. Known widely for melding Mieisian modernism and Googie restaurants, Russell designed the first Jack in the Box restaurant in 1951 as a “machine for dispensing food”. By 1976 the artist-architect jettisoned his design practice to fully invest himself in 2- and 3-dimensional works – many of which remain in the home.


Mansfield Mills Residence in La Jolla - through Darren Bradley's lens

The Mansfield Mills Residence (1959) is comprised of three rectangular volumes arranged into a U-shaped plan, the largest of which opens to expansive views of the Pacific Ocean to the West. The home’s centerpiece is the largest of the 3 volumes - the living area – while the other volumes contain sleeping quarters, kitchen, outdoor dining area and the carport. The roof sweeps along the u-section offering a different canopy for each of the 3 volumes. In the living area section, the rafters extend above the centerline creating a double-height window wall facing the courtyard (to the east). Notice how the scale of the project is radically altered from your entry through the entry/motor-court with the 2-story height, to the more intimately scaled floor to ceiling glass engaging the ocean view. The original reflecting pool and concrete masonry block that form built-in planters were highlighted in Julius Shulman’s photographs published in Concrete Masonry Age magazine in 1959. This was one of 2 La Jolla projects the young USC-trained architect, Dale Naegle (1928-2011), hired Shulman to photograph - the other being the Pappenfort Residence in the Muirlands after leaving Los Angeles to help define the region’s modernist identity.

Sunday October 19, 2014

The First (annual?) La Jolla Modern Tour was a sold out success! Many thanks to our 100 tour-goers and the dozens of volunteers and docents! For those that could not join us, you missed fantastic weather, snacks and the opportunity to spend time in Forester Residence III, Case Study House 23C and the Mansfield Mills Residence.

The Mingei International Museum opens a new show, 'Three on the Edge', profiling the work of Wallace Cunningham, Ken Kellogg and James Hubbell on October 25. You can read more on the museum's site HERE or read a blogger's profile HERE. While at the museum also check out the show ‘In the Realm of Nature’ - a retrospective of work by two of America’s foremost pioneers in contemporary craft - Kay Sekimachi (1926-) and Bob Stocksdale (1913-2003). Learn more HERE.

The Triton restaurant in Cardiff is undergoing a major facelift. Had you enjoyed the oceanfront eatery through the last decades, your next visit will be sans James Hubbell's art. At least the developers had the good sense to return the stained glass and other items to the artist's foundation. Read more HERE.

Be sure to check out the new book Hand-In-Hand: Ceramics, Mosaics, Tapestries, and Woodcarvings by the California Mid-Century Designers Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman HERE.

The General Motors Technical Center near Detroit has been named a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. Recognized as one of the most significant works by architect Eero Saarinen, the automaker’s research campus opened in 1956. Saarinen later became famous for designing the T.W.A. terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport, the Dulles airport main terminal near Washington, and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. He designed corporate operations for I.B.M., Bell Labs, John Deere and other companies, establishing the idea of a suburban complex modeled after a small college campus. Read more HERE.

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