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Architecture

Architectural Home Designs

Architectural home designs has its roots in International Style. International style architecture emerged in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Paving the way for the mid century modern movement it sought to merge craftmanship with industrial technology. Henry-Russell Hitchcock, a leading American architectural historian, and architect Philip Johnson, captured the essence of this architectural style in their documentary style book called The International Style. Coining the term, the book chronicles Hitchcock and Johnson’s travels across Europe together. “The result was the ground breaking show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1932, ‘The International Style Architecture since 1922,’ which was a collection of the plans and photographs they had collected along the way.” The style has three simple core ideals: ornament is a crime, truth to materials, and form follows function.

Bauhaus Days

Lovell House by Richard Neutra, Pratt House by Frank Lloyd Wright, Gropius House

The most famous pioneers of this style are Le Corbusier in France, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius in Germany. Their work consistently delivered the essence of three simple core ideals which are: ornament is a crime, truth to materials, form follows function. Glass, steel, and concrete became their go to building materials.

Perhaps as a way to spread these core architectural ideals, Gropius founded Bauhaus in 1919. Bauhaus was a school for artists. Despite not starting with an architecture department the school’s early manifesto was “The building is the ultimate goal of all fine art.” Gropius taught his “study of essentials.”

When architect Hannes Meyer  came on board in 1927 he expanded the architecture curriculum to include all relevant subjects such as planning, design, draftsmanship, construction, town planning. Architect students got hands on experience working designing the balcony access houses in Dessau and the labor unions school in Bernau near Berlin. Carl Fieger, the engineer Friedrich Köhn, Hans Wittwer, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Anton Brenner, Alcar Rudelt and Mart Stam taught in the architecture department and helped with the projects. Due to pressure from the Nazi regime the school was forced to close its doors in 1933. The architectural ideals lived on.

Case Study House #22 Stahl-House

Mid Century Modern

The core ideals of International Style traversed from Europe to America and seeped into corporate buildings and American homes. Some of the most recognizable structures in the U.S. include the Glass House apartments in Chicago, the United Nations headquarters, the Lever House, the Seagram Building in New York, and the campus of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado. There are a bevvy of residential architectural home designs scattered across Silver Lake, Los Feliz, and the Echo Park hills.

If you are flirting with the idea of owning your own architectural home, grab your smart phone and let’s chat. We’d love to help you find one.

October 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Modernism

modernism

Modernism is a philosophical movement that forever changed the landscape of residential architecture in Los Angeles.

With industrialism came the rapid growth of cities. Naturally, a push and pull between the old and the new began. Everything from art, literature, religious beliefs, philosophy, social organization, activities of daily life, and even the sciences, were being questioned and identified as outdated social norms in the new economic, social, and political environment of an emerging fully industrialized world.

Architecture and residential construction was under the gun too.

In 1931 Le Corbusier, a pioneer of modern architecture, summed up the shift eloquently by stating,

“Eradicate from your mind any hard and fast conceptions in regard to the dwelling-house and look at the question from an objective and critical angle, and you will inevitably arrive at the “House-Machine,” the mass-production house, available for everyone, incomparably healthier than the old kind (and morally so, too) and beautiful …”

This journey in discovering a fresh take on housing led to pre-manufactured or prefabricated homes, materials like steel, and affordability in housing.

The first noticeable wave of change in housing came about with the inception of the Aladdin Company. Brothers Otto and William Sovereign started their family owned business in 1906. According to their website many of their customers, after having rented property for many years, decided that Aladdin proved a viable option in design features, choice of model, and especially cost. Aladdin sold mail-order kit homes. These homes were selected via catalog, packed up and shipped to their customers who often easily built their new home over a weekend. And since these homes were affordable the Sovereign brothers made homeownership possible for America’s middle class.

While kit homes were a hit there were few choices and pretty soon everyone’s home started to look the same. However, the essence of the modernist ethos believes we, as human beings, have the power to create, improve and reshape our environment with the aid of practical experimentation, scientific knowledge, or technology. And so steel was introduced as a new material in residential construction. It was a game changer.

Focusing on the use of new materials and affordability John Entenza, editor of Arts and Crafts magazine, saw an opportunity to introduce and cement modernism via the construction of mid-century modern homes to the post-war suburbs of Los Angeles. He created The Case Study House program. CSH ran from 1945 to 1966. It attracted more than 350,000 people who viewed first hand what architects could do with lightweight steel and the new arc welding process.

The majority of the CSH residences are listed as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments and/or National Register of Historic Places.

To find mid-century modern homes for sale in Los Angeles visit my curated list of homes currently on the market.

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October 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Modern architecture

modern-architecture

Modern architecture or modernist architecture is a term applied to an overarching movement, with its exact definition and scope varying widely. The term is often applied to modernist movements at the turn of the 20th century, with efforts to reconcile the principles underlying architectural design with rapid technological advancement and the modernization of society. It would take the form of numerous movements, schools of design, and architectural styles, some in tension with one another, and often equally defying such classification. The term Modern architecture may be used to differentiate from Classical architecture following Vitruvian ideals, while it is also applied to various contemporary architecture styles such as Postmodern, High-tech or even New Classical, depending on the context. In art history, the revolutionary and neoclassical styles that evolved around 1800 are also called modern.

The concept of modernism is a central theme in the efforts of 20th century modern architecture. Gaining global popularity especially after the Second World War, architectural modernism was adopted by many architects and architectural educators, and continued as a dominant architectural style for institutional and corporate buildings into the 21st century. Modernism eventually generated reactions, most notably Postmodernism which sought to preserve pre-modern elements, while “Neo-modernism” has emerged as a reaction to Post-modernism.

Notable modernist architects important to the history and development of the modernist movement include Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Erich Mendelsohn, Joseph Eichler, Richard Neutra, Louis Sullivan, Gerrit Rietveld, Bruno Taut, Gunnar Asplund, Arne Jacobsen, Oscar Niemeyer and Alvar Aalto.

October 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Case Study Houses

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The Case Study Houses are a collection of mid-century modern homes resulting from an experiment in residential architecture. The program was brought to life by John Entenza, the editor in chief of Arts & Architecture magazine. He commissioned major architects of the day, including Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig and Eero Saarinen, to design and build inexpensive and duplicable modern homes to accomodate the housing boom caused by the millions of returning soldiers at the end of World War II.

The program ran from 1945 to 1966. Most of the homes were built in Los Angeles, CA and one was built in Phoenix, Arizona.

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October 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Case Study Houses Program

640px-case_study_21

The Case Study House program (1945-66) might just be the most innovative event in the history of American architecture.

After hours conversing about new ideas in residential design, John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture magazine, decided to create the program. The goal of the program was to create inexpensive, stylish, prototypes for modern housing. The announcement of the program stated,

“The magazine has undertaken to supply and answer (to housing – post war) … proposing to begin immediately the study, planning, and actual design of eight houses … Eight nationally known architects, chosen not only for their obvious talents but for their ability to evaluate realistically housing in terms of need, have been commissioned to take a plot of God’s green earth and create good living conditions for eight American families.

Entenza was a champion of modernism and had all the right connections to attract the talent the program needed. Among the initial architects chosen were Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eero Saarinen.

Taking place mainly in the Los Angeles area, the program oversaw the design of 36 prototype homes and successfully re-defined the modern home.

Today, many of these homes are listed under the National Register of Historic Places. And, once in a while a CSH hits the market, like Case Study House #21 designed by Pierre Koenig.

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October 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Bauhaus

bauhaus

Staatliches Bauhaus, commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term  Bauhaus, literally “house of construction”, stood for “School of Building”. The Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar.

October 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Streamline Moderne

Normandie Hotel

Streamline Moderne, sometimes referred to by either name alone or as Art Moderne, was a late type of the Art Deco design style which emerged during the 1930s. Its architectural style emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines, and sometimes nautical elements.

Common characteristics of Streamline Moderne and Art Moderne

  • Horizontal orientation
  • Rounded edges, corner windows
  • Glass brick walls
  • Porthole windows
  • Chrome hardware
  • Smooth exterior wall surfaces, usually stucco (smooth plaster finish)
  • Flat roof with coping
  • Horizontal grooves or lines in walls
  • Subdued colors: base colors were typically light earth tones, off-whites, or beiges; and trim colors were typically dark colors (or bright metals) to contrast from the light base.

The Normandie Hotel, which opened during 1942, is built in the stylized shape of the ocean liner SS Normandie, and it includes the ship’s original sign. The Sterling Streamliner Diners were diners designed like streamlined trains.

Although Streamline Moderne houses are less common than streamline commercial buildings, residences do exist. The Lydecker House in Los Angeles, built by Howard Lydecker, is an example of Streamline Moderne design in residential architecture. In tract development, elements of the style were frequently used as a variation in postwar row housing in San Francisco’s Sunset District.

October 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Organic architecture

Organic architecture

Organic architecture is a philosophy of architecture which promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world through design approaches so sympathetic and well integrated with its site that buildings, furnishings, and surroundings become part of a unified, interrelated composition.

Sheats Goldstein Residence

The Sheats Goldstein Residence is an example of house designed accordingly to the principles of organic architecture. The Goldstein Residence was built between 1961 and 1963 by John Lautner in Beverly Crest, Los Angeles not far from the Beverly Hills border. The building was conceived from the inside out and built into the sandstone ledge of the hillside; a cave-like dwelling that opens to embrace nature and view.

October 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Danish design

Danish design

Danish Design is a style of functionalistic design and architecture that was developed in mid-20th century. Influenced by the German Bauhaus school, many Danish designers used the new industrial technologies, combined with ideas of simplicity and functionalism to design buildings, furniture and household objects, many of which have become iconic and are still in use and production. Prominent examples are the Egg chair, the PH lamps and the Sydney Opera House.

October 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Danish modern

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Danish modern, frequently capitalized as Danish Modern, is a vintage style of minimalist wood furniture from Denmark associated with the Danish design movement. In the 1920s, Kaare Klint embraced the principles of Bauhaus modernism in furniture design, creating clean, pure lines based on an understanding of classical furniture craftsmanship coupled with careful research into materials, proportions and the requirements of the human body. With designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner and associated cabinetmakers, Danish furniture thrived from the 1940s through the 1960s. Adopting mass-production techniques and concentrating on form rather than just function, Finn Juhl contributed to the style’s success, especially in the United States where there has recently been a renewal of interest.

October 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|