Month: August 2008
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2008-08-31 17:53:002008-08-31 17:53:00Pecking Turkeys? More on People Who Live in Glass Houses…
Photo by tinyfroglet
The Wall Street Journal has a piece on some of the issues those living in glass houses deal with (faded furniture and pecking turkeys to name a few) that did not come up in the discussion here. The story also talks about the high-profile lawsuit involving one of the most famous glass houses, the Farnsworth House by Mies Van de Rohe (pictured above):
“Complaints about glass houses date to some of the earliest examples. After architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe completed his iconic Plano, Ill., Modernist house in 1951, the owner, Edith Farnsworth, started grumbling. Illuminated at night, the elevated glass box became a magnet for bugs. During the summer, ‘the sun turned the interior into a cooker,’ writes Mies biographer Franz Schulze. Dr. Farnsworth sued the architect, in part over cost overruns but also because she contended that the house was unlivable. She ultimately lost her petition to rescind the added expenses, but her gripes were aired widely and resulted in a small backlash against Modernist architecture.”
The article, however, ends on a more positive note, saying “most people who live in glass-walled homes insist they wouldn’t trade their views. Standing in his Manhattan living room overlooking the Hudson, Raj Mahajan says, “It brings a little bit of nonconcrete serenity to my New York existence.”
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2008-08-30 05:55:002020-05-08 12:13:26Laminate Love
For all of you who are not fans of granite countertops (I know there are a few of you out there), local interior designer Annie Elliot writes on her Bossy Blog about the return of laminate.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2008-08-28 17:49:002020-06-12 06:50:09Wildwood: Mid-Century Mecca at the Beach
Here’s a video of images of Wildwood from the 1960s.
This is a short documentary on preservation efforts in Wildwood.
With summer coming to a close, why not take one more trip to the beach while checking out cool mid-century architecture. Less than 200 miles from Washington, the Wildwoods (Wildwood, North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest) at the Jersey shore have the country’s largest concentration of mid-century commercial architecture from the 1950s and ’60s. The architecture of the motels, diners, restaurants and vintage neon signs reflect the era’s fascination with the automobile, air and space travel and all things Tiki/Polynesian. The architectural style in Wildwood was dubbed Googie. Many of the Doo Wop motels in Wildwood were built by Will and Lou Morey.
With more than 100 Doo Wop buildings having been destroyed amid the boom in real estate, the National Trust for Historic preservation named the Doo Wop motels to its “Most Endangered” list in 2006.
One of the quintessential Doo Wop motels built by the pair is the Caribbean Motel, which was purchased in 2004 by Carolyn Emigh, an Arlington lawyer and her partner George Miller. The motel, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, features a levitating ramp to the second story, canted glass walls, recessed “spaceship” lights and the first plastic palm trees to be used in the Wildwoods. Interested in doing in owning your own MCM hotel? The Eden Roc is for sale for $2.4 million.
Here’s a video of images of Wildwood from the 1960s.
This is a short documentary on preservation efforts in Wildwood.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2008-08-26 09:53:002020-11-23 11:02:29Modern Snapshot: Richland Place in Silver Spring
Here’s a look at mid-century modern homes in Maryland. Architect Joseph Miller and builder Burt Tracy built 20 mid-century contemporaries on Richland Place in the Rosemary Hills neighborhood in Silver Spring.
Miller was a leading force at Catholic University’s school of architecture and a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, which presented him with more than 40 awards during his career. His honors included the 1997 Centennial Award from the Washington chapter of the AIA and awards recognizing his designs for dozens of projects, including this flat-roof MCM in D.C. I wrote about here. (The 1962 home on Tilden Street has dropped $90K to $1.595 million.)
Architectural historian Elizabeth Jo Lampl writes that the homes on Richland with their “wood exteriors and large sections of fixed glass sliders below … have been mistaken for Goodman houses but exhibit a more restrained use of glass.” I did not see any for sale when I drove through the neighborhood.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2008-08-19 15:22:002008-08-19 15:22:00Modern Snapshot: Goodman National Homes Pre-Fab in Annanwood
This picture is of one of the homes in Annanwood, the National Homes Charles Goodman pre-fab community in Annandale that I discussed in this earlier post. This is one house in the small community that looks relatively unchanged from the front. Unfortunately, several homes in the neighborhood have added Greco-Roman-style columns on the carport. I can’t even begin to imagine what the thought process is like leading up to such a decision.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2008-08-18 02:00:002020-05-08 12:13:11Smithsonian Exhibition: Washington Painting at Midcentury
With most of your co-workers (and more importantly your bosses) at the beach, take a long lunch one of these days at the Smithsonian American Art Museum to take in the show, Local Color: Washington Painting at Midcentury. The exhibition, which runs until Oct. 13, highlights 27 large-scale paintings created by Washington-based modernist artists between the mid-1950s and mid-1970s. Artists featured include Gene Davis, Thomas Downing, Sam Gilliam, Paul Reed, Jacob Kainen, Alma Thomas, Leon Berkowitz, Fel Hines and Howard Mehring.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2008-08-12 11:13:002008-08-12 11:13:00Modern Snapshot: Little River Turnpike, Annandale, Virginia
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2008-08-12 02:00:002008-08-12 02:00:00The Future is Now: NBM Saarinen Exhibit Ends August 23
Saarinen in 1937
If you have not been down to the National Building Museum yet to see Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future, don’t wait too long. The exhibit on Saarinen’s illustrious but shortened career (he died when he was 51), is rich and engaging. It took me four visits to go through the entire presentation, which includes sections on his furniture design, corporate and residential architecture and most prominent works: the St. Louis Arch, Dulles airport and the TWA terminal at JFK airport. A movie on Saarinen’s life produced for the exhibit is also available for viewing.
One of my favorite tidbits from the exhibit since I am from New Jersey is about Saarinen’s Womb chair, which he began designing in 1946 and was introduced to the public in 1948. Early models of the chair, which consisted of a single reinforced fiberglass shell covered, upholstered and supported on a bent tubular-steel form, were made in the Garden State by a shipbuilder that worked in fiberglass.
Photo provided by the National Building Museum. Courtesy Eero Saarinen Collection. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2008-08-11 10:02:002020-05-08 12:13:10The Meaning of McMansions, Modern Design
Did you see Columbia University architecture professor Gwendolyn Wright’s interesting piece in yesterday’s Post on the what the homes we build say about about us? Wright, the author of “USA: Modern Architectures in History,” had a pretty harsh critique of McMansions as you can see below.
“The New Economy of the 1990s fostered delirious spending with easy credit. Americans were encouraged to borrow far beyond their means. A pervasive taste for extravagance equated size and opulence with luxury. The McMansion, gargantuan in size, appeared, often entailing the demolition of several historical houses. The facades of these homes are adorned with a showy pastiche of super-size motifs. How about some classical columns, two stories high, to stir memories of Southern plantations, alongside huge displays of half-timbering to evoke a Tudor castle? Interiors focus on a majestic stairway and a portentous spectacle called the ‘Great Room.’
“A McMansion is rife with contradictions. It’s an exhibitionistic house, yet it’s set far back from the street, with tall gates and security systems. These Hummer houses appeal to people who want a truly conspicuous display of wealth. They’ve given freedom of expression a new and rather disturbing meaning: the right to do whatever you want, to be totally self-absorbed. Which is where we are, for the most part, today.”
She is more kind on the meaning of mid-century architecture.
“[D]omestic architecture of the 1950s sought to humanize modern housing with comfort and informality. Americans enjoyed The Good Life, as they put it, a phrase that resonated around the world. Even the French spoke of ‘la Good Life’ with an ambivalent mix of disdain and desire.
“Two brand-new rooms suddenly appeared. The master bedroom provided discreet intimacy for adults, while the family room emphasized wholesome togetherness. In the suburbs, sliding glass doors opened onto patios and well-kept lawns. Floor plans became more open, with ample built-in storage for the dramatic increase in the average household’s consumer goods. Possessions were put on display: television in the living room, modern appliances in the housewife’s kitchen, golf clubs and hand-tools in the husband’s workshop-garage.”
Ah, living the good life.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2008-08-10 08:32:002008-08-10 08:32:00Debate Over Third Church of Christ Continues with Lawsuit
The saga over the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, continues. Members of the church at 16th and I streets, NW–who want to tear the building down and replace it with a new structure–have sued D.C. for naming the Brutalist structure a historic landmark. The church members are arguing that the designation, which came in December and means that any structural changes to building have to go through the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board, is infringing on their First Amendment rites to freely practice their religion. A very interesting legal and moral conflict between the desires of the members of the church to change their own building, which they do not like, and those seeking to preserve modernist landmarks.
Here’s a nice Flickr set of images of the 1971 church, which was designed by I.M. Pei colleague Araldo Cossutta.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike /wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2008-08-07 11:42:002008-08-07 11:42:00Discussion: Those who live in glass houses…have to deal with….
It’s fun to look at cool MCM houses online or to go to open houses, but what are the unique issues or problems that go along with actually owning one when you decide to buy. The question was posed by one Modern Capital reader and assume on the minds of many people on this site who are looking for a MCM home in the area. I thought it would be interesting to get the thoughts of people who own homes with full walls of glass (all you Goodman owners) and the architects who read the site and are well-versed in mid-century modern design. Below are three specific questions posed by the reader to kick off the discussion:
- Does the concrete slab foundation make renovations more difficult and expensive, especially plumbing or HVAC changes?
- Do the single pane windows all need to be replaced to keep energy use reasonable?
- Are there a set of common problems with this style of home (e.g. noise through the walls etc.)?
Hopefully, this will kick off a lively discussion, like the one on the granite and stainless steel kitchens here. Check out the last comment from the person who actually bought the Hollin Hills house in question. I think a lot of people will be heartened by the new owner’s comments.