Private Residence (ca. 1973) by Homer Delawie in La Jolla Shores. Click HERE for more.

Tuesday September 29th, 2009

Speaking of Homer Delawie, Modern San Diego's president, CEO, Executive Editor and Janitorial Engineer will be hosting a presentation on the FAIA architect's life and career on Wednesday, October 21st at the San Diego Historical Society. If only we can measure up the precedent-setting Lloyd Ruocco presentation given recently! RSVP HERE guarantee a seat.

The 5th Annual Modernism Week, slated to take place February 12 - 21, 2010, is bookended by two exciting weekends and filled with retro and educational fun in-between.  Modernism Week, the only such event in the country, is an exciting 9-day homage to the ideals of mid-century modern design, architecture and culture. Some of the week's highlights include: a special tribute to renowned modernist architecture Albert Frey; an exclusive movie star home tour in and around Palm Springs; a mod fashion show featuring vintage fashions; and an architecture film festival. For the full schedule for Modernism Week visit

Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley (near Chicago, IL) is hosting the Third Annual Treasures of the Tri-Cities, a weekend celebrating local architectural gems. On Oct. 9 and 10 the tour, "Highlights of Mid-Century Modern in the Midwest," will feature the Fox Valley's best residential and commercial buildings dating from 1937 to 1968. This year the tour features The Jacques Brownson Glass House (circa 1950 "Geneva House"); A Bruno Conterato home-1968 (designed by a colleague of Mies Van Der Rohe; a 1954 home designed by Paul Schweikher and much more. More information is HERE and HERE.

The LA TIMES points out that several architectural icons are currently on the market at deflated prices. Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House in Los Feliz stands as the largest example of his "textile block" style using patterned concrete. Richard Neutra's Singleton House artfully integrates a modernist structure with its natural setting. John Lautner's Wolff House exemplifies his bold use of wood, glass and stone. Read more HERE.

As part of the LA TIMES’ Home section’s Masters of Craft series, Times staff writer David A. Keeps visited woodworker John Nyquist’s home and studio in Long Beach. Though Nyquist still isn’t a household name among the general public, collectors of classic California design have sought his work for almost 50 years. Read and See more HERE.

SPRING VALLEY MODERN! Barwick Residence (ca. 1955) by Lloyd Ruocco.
Photo courtesy of the Todd Pitman collection.

Saturday September 26th, 2009

MERCERYORK.COM has launched. What has evolved from Modern San Diego’s popular Real Estate section, is now a whole site devoted to ‘San Diego Architecture For Sale’. Including a robust inventory of fantastic mid-century architecture, the site will evolve rather rapidly to include turn-of-the-century through pre-War housing as well as contemporary residences. Please check out our new site today, and visit regularly – as what’s on the market changes daily. And if you know someone looking to NOT live in a cookie-cutter home, send them along.

Mark your calendars! On October 29th at 630 p.m., at the Neurosciences Institute, the San Diego Architectural Foundation will host the first in a series of “Inside the Architect’s Studio” events. The inaugural event will be ME (serving as James Lipton) interviewing Robert Mosher about his life and career. Ticket information will be on the Foundation’s website shortly. But for now – put that date on your calendar!

Be sure to pick up a copy of the October, 2009 issue of Sunset Magazine. The editors chose to do a ‘then and now’ article on John Mock’s Hindman Residence in the Mt. Helix area. The article offers fantastic eye candy.

The Getty Research Institute held a memorial service for architectural photographer Julius Shulman, who died in July at the age of 98. “Assuredly paced, and for the most part funnier than sad, the memorial reflected something fundamental about Shulman’s relentlessly upbeat if occasionally irascible personality.” The Institute’s Shulman archive includes a staggering 260,000 photographs and other items. Read more HERE.

In a related ARTICLE, Shulman’s daughter reminded those in attendance that “Julius was a character -- charming, focused, occasionally cantankerous -- ''a handful.'” Certainly something I had witnessed while working with Shulman to develop a calendar PARADISE FOUND of his images of San Diego.

Harwell Hamilton Harris’ Naylor Residence (ca. 1940) in Berkeley Hills (above UC Berkeley’s stadium) is up for sale. The neighborhood includes the Hilary and Joe Feldman House by Frank Lloyd Wright and Harris’ John Weston Havens Jr. House, (ca. 1939). Read more HERE.

The new exhibit of Shulman’s work at the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Heinz Architectural Center, “Palm Springs Modern: Photographs by Julius Shulman,” shows the artist to be a man who used his camera to communicate effects and reveal causes. The exhibit, which runs through Jan. 31, 2010, includes 100 photographs by Shulman, as well as 20 original drawings of the houses and, in October, a screening of a documentary about Shulman. Learn more HERE.

Post-war ceramist Harrison McIntosh is celebrating his 95th birthday with 60-year retrospective exhibition at Pomona's American Museum of Ceramic Arts. The show runs through January 9, 2010. Read more HERE.

“The  Sixties Turn 50,” a panel discussion organized by the Los Angeles Conservancy, will take place Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Building in downtown L.A.  Frances Anderton, host of KCRW’s “DnA: Design & Architecture,” will moderate. Other participants are Hess, architects Leo Marmol and David C. Martin, Christine Madrid French of  the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Chris Nichols, associate editor of Los Angeles magazine.

Houston’s William Reaves Fine Art is holding a new show Back to the Future: Elements of ‘Modern' in Mid-Century Texas Art, which includes paintings by San Antonio's Bill Reily and Houston artists Richard Stout and Dorothy Hood. Read more HERE.

The Highland Park Historical Society’s 2009 House Tour,“The Twentieth Century Limited,” will be held on Sunday, October 4, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This year’s outing showcases the house and car museum made famous by the Ferrari crash scene in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ as well as two homes by John Van Bergen, the last associate of Frank Lloyd Wright in his Oak Park studio; two houses designed by Mies van der Rohe protege, A. James Speye; and an example of the work of Arthur Dennis Stevens, who was Wright‘s last apprentice at his Wisconsin Taliesin studio. Read more HERE.

The curators of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in western Pennsylvania are offering a new way to see the famous residence. For $1200, visitors will spend one full day and two evenings at the residence, enjoying the house as it was intended – including meals and cocktails. Learn more HERE.

SPRING VALLEY MODERN!Hoffman Residence (ca. 1965) by Homer Delawie at 9339 Crest.

Saturday September 19th, 2009

Beyond spending a lot of time on the bike exploring Spring Valley, I’ve been building a separate real estate site to focus on local architecture – from the 19th century to today. The site will be updated daily as prices change and listings come up for sale and close. I hope you will find it a valuable resource for yourself and anyone you know looking to purchase a special place to live. I will announce the URL shortly.

Sonny & Cher’s San Fernando Valley home, built circa 1965, is being remodeled by architect Kenneth David Lee. Read more HERE.

The annual MAK Center for Art & Architecture fundraiser tour will highlight seven residences by architects Rudolph Schindler, Gregory Ain, Raphael Soriano, Harwell Hamilton Harris and Craig Ellwood. The self-driven tour will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 4th. What’s in store: Rudolf Schindler’s 1926 Howe House; as well as his 1935 McAlmon House; Raphael Soriano’s Schrage house (circa 1952); The 1964-65 Moore house by Craig Ellwood; and the 1940-41 Alexander house by Harwell Hamilton Harris; and Harris' 1950-51 Hansen House; as well as the Avenel homes cooperative (1946-48) by Gregory Ain. Learn more (and see pics) HERE.

For years now Eileen Gray’s e-1027 House in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France has been in declining health. Currently undergoing an €800,000 restoration, someone was able to get close enough to the property, where Le Corbusier died, to snap some spy photos. Learn more HERE.

Portland’s Memorial Coliseum, by Skidmore Owings and Merrill, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural importance to the state of Oregon, the state parks department announced. Built in 1960 for $8 million the glass-walled building, which the city of Portland considered tearing down earlier this year to make way for a baseball stadium, is seen as a unique example of the International style of Modernist architecture.

SPRING VALLEY MODERN! Trinity Presbyterian Church (1961) by Culver Heaton at 3902 Kenwood Drive,
Spring Valley. A Pasadena architect, the 1951 president of the AIA Pasadena & Foothills chapter, Heaton
would go on to form the still-practicing firm Culver Heaton & Thomas Zartl and Associates.

Monday September 13th, 2009

A new exhibition "Modernism at Risk: Modern Solutions for Saving Modern Landmarks" opens Tuesday at the University of Florida. Among the questions posed – “Why is it that 1920s Mediterranean revival buildings in Sarasota tend to be restored, while mid-century moderns tend to be demolished?” Marty Hylton, an assistant professor in the College of Design at the University of Florida, offers several possible explanations. Among them: "Lewis Mumford, the architecture and social critic, said we reject our fathers and embrace our grandfathers," observed Hylton. Read more HERE.

Kandinsky , a full-scale retrospective of the paintings of Vasily Kandinsky—the visionary artist, theorist, and pioneer of abstraction— will be presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum from September 18, 2009, through January 13, 2010. This comprehensive survey comprising nearly 100 of Kandinsky’s most important canvases from 1907 to 1942 is drawn primarily from the three largest repositories of the artist’s work—the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York, and the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau in Munich—as well as from significant private and public collections.  Learn more HERE.

Ward Wyatt Deems, FAIA, Architect and founder of the firm Deems Lewis McKinley Architects passed away on Sunday, 6 September, 2009, at the age of 79 years in Bend, Oregon. His influence on the architecture of San Diego included numerous award winning designs and landmarks such as the San Diego Convention Center, Torrey Pines High School, UCSD Humanities Library, US Border Crossing at San Ysidro, and the Armand Hammer Research Facilities at the Salk Institute in La Jolla. Deems grew up in Pasadena, California and received a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1953, from the University of Southern California (USC). In 1959, Deems established the firm in San Diego that has borne his name for the past 50 years. In 1973, Deems was inducted as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) for his community and national contributions and for his enduring influence on the profession. In recent years Deems resided in Bend, Oregon with his wife, Nancy. He remained active in the USC Foundation. He took a special interest in the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and served as architectural consultant to the Institute for several years before and after moving to Oregon. Deems is survived by his wife, Nancy; sons, Jeffrey Deems of Seattle and Jeremy Deems and his wife, Paula of Boulder, Colorado; and daughter, Sheryl Biere and husband, Peter of Seattle; and three grandchildren. The family suggests any donations in Ward Deems' honor be sent to Hospice House in Bend, Oregon or University of Southern California School of Architecture or the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA.

The Detroit Free Press published a Top 10 list of Michigan architecture. On the list: Eliel Saarinen’s Cranbrook campus; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Meyer May House in Grand Rapids; and Eero Saarinen’s General Motors Technical Center. Read more HERE.

One of the Bay Area's best home tours is almost upon us. The Open Hearts Open Homes architectural tour, which showcases ten homes in the Lucas Valley/San Rafael area built by Joseph Eichler, takes place on September 19. For more information on the fundraiser, go HERE.

CLAIREMONT MODERN! This house at 2847 Arnott Street was erected in Balboa Park in 1955 and
moved to its current location in 1957. Lloyd Ruocco noted the design as part his, but it was built by a
larger group he only referenced as "San Diego AIA Architects".

Monday September 8th, 2009

Ward Wyatt Deems, FAIA passed away on Sunday in Bend, Oregon. More information will be posted as it comes in and his family and colleagues pen an official obituary: Ward Deems (16 Nov 1929 - 6 Sep 2009).

RENT a 1 Bed, 1 Bath at 3200 6th Avenue! Learn more HERE.

Saturday September 5th, 2009

Whoever rents the office building at 105 Brooks Ave. must agree to an unusual clause in the lease: Students from the N.C. State University design school must be allowed to visit from time to time. The building, a box of glass and steel built on stilts in 1966, was designed by architect G. Milton Small Jr. for his firm and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 4,700-square-foot building, which will be available in January, is considered one of the city's best examples of the International Style of architecture and a historical touchstone for aspiring students. Learn more HERE.



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