Been running around Palm Springs trying to take in all the architecture. So much to see and so little time. I did take a three-hour bus tour yesterday. We were honored to have Donald Wexler on the tour with us. (More to come on Wexler’s work and impact on Palm Springs in another post.) Here are just a few shots from yesterday. Make sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter for real-time mid-century modern updates from the desert.
Month: February 2011
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https://www.moderncapitaldc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike https://www.moderncapitaldc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2011-02-16 17:33:112020-05-08 12:49:52The Modern Architecture of the World’s Fairs
I just went back for my second tour of the National Building Museum’s Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s. The exhibit is a first-of-its-kind highlighting the impact the fairs had on introducing modernism to the country. The exhibit is packed with photos, objects and information. I think multiple trips are required to absorb everything. One of the key focuses of the exhibit, which runs through July 10, is the various styles of modern corporate and residential architecture that were displayed at the fairs around the country. Home builders used rows of model homes to display the latest in home design, technology and furniture. Companies used architecture and design to promote their goods of the future. The government also was not to be outdone. D.C.’s very own Charles Goodman played a key role in promoting the United States, with the stripped classicism of his Federal Building for the New York World’s Fair. Before launching his modernist residential practice, Goodman worked as a government architect for the Public Buildings Administration. He helped design structures ranging from National Airport to post offices around the country. So make sure to check out the exhibit before July.
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(Courtesy of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway)
If you have been reading this site for some time you know I hate the winter and the cold. My wife and I are finally heading to Palm Springs this year to get some sun and to experience the mid-century modern mecca during Modernism Week, which begins Feb. 17. Make sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter for all the modern action. Here are some pieces I have been reading as we plan the trip: an interview with Modernism Week founder Jacques Caussin, a self-guided tour by Palm Springs tour guru Robert Imber and a nice piece on the “quiet elegance” of architect Donald Wexler. I also discovered the funky, mod art of Nat Reed. And maybe I will dream about buying this home by Albert Frey. California or bust.
https://www.moderncapitaldc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png 0 0 Mid-Century Mike https://www.moderncapitaldc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/modern-capital-logo.png Mid-Century Mike2011-02-05 16:22:292020-06-12 06:48:37Charles Goodman: Hollin Hills In His Own Words
I came across an interesting piece about Hollin Hills from 1983. Written by then-Washington Post architecture critic Benjamin Forgey, it looks at the groundbreaking community by builder Robert Davenport and architect Charles Goodman before mid-century modernism was cool again. As part of the piece marking the neighborhood’s 30th anniversary, Forgey interviewed Goodman, who discussed his design philosphy for the community south of Alexandria. Here are some excerpts:
On the hilly topography that other builders, and lenders, were nervous about:
“‘It was the sort of land every builder would turn down,’ Goodman recalls, ‘but I felt it would make for ideal country living for urban people, and Bob Davenport did, too.'”
On his on-site pre-fab techniques:
“”The whole method was to break everything down to a system that would simplify construction and still give you great freedom of design,’ Goodman says. The results were relatively inexpensive starter homes–the initial model sold for $12,500 in 1949. Families flocked to them.”
“Goodman provided several basic designs that could be combined or altered, to a degree. The flat-roofed single-level house, with its ingenious floor plan (living, sleeping and eating spaces surrounding a central service core) and its stylistic relationship to Mies and Mondrian, was, [Goodman] says, ‘as far as I thought I could go’ in the direction of hard-edged Modernism.'”
On the siting and landscaping:
“The most innovative aspect of Hollin Hills was the siting of the houses and the overall landscape plan. It was this, more than anything else, that disturbed the county regulators and the federal housing authorities. Trees were preserved, grading was kept to a minimum, and the houses were set into their one-third or one-half acre lots at angles for maximum privacy. All those rounded cul-de-sacs, Goodman explains, were ‘to slow down traffic and give the children places to play.'”
“‘At the same time,’ [Goodman] continues, ‘I was thinking about what to do after you have designed the houses and built them and people have bought them, to make the units part of a whole.’ His farsighted solution, eagerly embraced by builder and buyers alike, was to hire a landscape architect (Bernard Voigt and, later, Eric Paepcke and the renowned Dan Kiley) and to sell a landscape plan–initially it cost $60 and was non-negotiable–with each plot.”
On expanding and changing original houses:
“Another notable facet of the Hollin Hills homes was their built-in capacity for expansion, something many residents took advantage of as their families grew–to greater, or lesser, architectural effect. Some residents complain about the ineffectiveness of the community’s architectural review board. Goodman’s attitude is ‘Anything they do can’t hurt it. These houses were designed to be living things.'”