California modernism has long been generally associated with architecture & design from Southern California. However, Northern California has a vital architectural history that contributes to California modernism. Pierluigi Serraino successfully demonstrates this in: NorCalMod. Icons of Northern California Modernism. The author rediscovers the complexity and richness of Northern California modernism that for many in the Bay Area and surrounding communities is hidden in plain sight.
Can hardly believe it is already (almost!) Halloween. Rather than focus on home accessories and decorations- architecture with a pinch of macabre art is the focus of this post. From black façade's, real American ghost towns, to a vernacular of architecture destined to be haunted, these structures will get you in the Halloween spirit. Black façade's are here to stay despite their current trend status. Although mainly depicted on modern & contemporary architecture, Victorian and Mid-Century architecture with black façades are just as alluring. Regarding Victorian architecture, have you ever wondered why this vernacular of architecture is most commonly associated with the ghastly and gruesome? From real life to Hollywood produced horrors, Victorian architecture seems to be the perfect backdrop and, Art Historian Sarah Burns might have the answer to why. Ghost towns are a real thing across the globe. I have visited a few in the states, and even if they are technically not haunted, there is something unsettling in abandoned towns or neighborhoods (hello Detroit). Finally, the art history lover in me couldn’t resist the Getty’s latest post on Illuminated Manuscripts that highlight how death and meditations on death were a daily presence during the Middle Ages through the Medieval periods. BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Portland, and Oregon on the whole, has a substantial presence of Post-World War II architecture. One of the more prominent mid-century works is the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Portland is also home for a post-modern work of architecture, Michael Grave’s designed Portland Public Service Building. Locally, several mid-century modern, and especially post-modern, works of architecture are not held in high esteem from the design community through City leadership. Yet, the City has approved locally designed mix-use developments that directly reference mid-century and post-modern design aesthetics. When these new developments enter their middle age, will they too be called obsolete, tacky, and ugly?
One of my favorite aspects of Cape Cod Modernism is how these design leaders of architectural modernism began by building for themselves. Their homes were their creative laboratories, anchored by a sense of place on the Outer Cape. I personally love the sense of experimentation with both material and spatial organization that is reflective in these modern residences built from the 1930s to the 1970s. The Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT) has been preserving these homes and making them more available to the public since 2007. For more information on these homes, please visit CCMHT.
Richard Neutra (1892-1970) is one of the most influential mid-century modern architects. His architectural designs are marked by crisp geometric modernism. His residential feats were predominately built in California, including the Lovell House. The Lovelly House has a steel skeleton, which was a first for residential design in the United States, glass, and prefabricated elements. It is a premier example of residential modernism. The Lovell House is a Los Angele Historic-Cultural Monument.
The Bauhaus (1919-1933) was founded by German architect Walter Gropius. It is considered the most influential modernist art school of the twentieth-century. The Bauhaus incorporated both fine arts and design education, and at its core strove to re-imagine the material world to better reflect a unity of all the arts: architecture, sculpture, and painting as one unified creative expression. The school had renowned faculty including: Kandinsky, Albers, Mies van der Rohe an Marcel Breuer.
One of my favorite ways to introduce color, light, warmth, and laughs into a room is through the walls. I like bold and bright geometric patterns, dreamy looking wall coverings that remind me of hand-made Italian paper, framed art and sculpture, and even a little neon to accessorize walls. Now, not all of these elements should go into the same room, otherwise that would over load the senses. However, using one or coupling some of these elements makes for interesting walls and beautiful rooms.