Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Sea Ranch Paradox, or How One of my Least Favorite Architects Designed One of my Most Favorite Places

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Sea Ranch Condominium 1 by MLTW (1966). Photo ©Darren Bradley

The Sea Ranch is an architectural masterpiece. Mention that you are visiting this mythical place to just about any architect or designer, and you are almost certain to get a look of wistful longing in return - tinged perhaps with a bit of jealousy. And what's not to love? It's really a masterful blending of architecture and nature in a stunningly beautiful environment. Even people who claim not to like modernist architecture are taken in by its beauty. And yet, one of its principal creators, Charles Moore, was an architect who later became a champion of the Post-Modern Movement, embracing kitschy and almost cartoonish themes in his work. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Discovering Modernism in the Jewel of the Inland Empire

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The Gillespie Residence by Clare Henry Day (1954) in Redlands, CA. Photo ©Darren Bradley
Redlands. Despite being known at the "Jewel of the Inland Empire", it's a city that is largely overlooked. Most people - if they've been there at all - know it mostly as a few freeway exits on the I-10, roughly half way between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. But Redlands' nickname is well deserved, and should receive far more credit than it gets as a destination in its own right... including for some wonderful examples of modernist architecture... and for the work of one brilliant architect, in particular.  

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Seattle Central Public Library: Better Late than Never

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Front view of the Seattle Central Public Library, seen from the main entrance (bottom left corner). Photo ©Darren Bradley 

The Seattle Central Public Library opened to the public in May of 2004. Since then, it's been written about and photographed extensively. At this point, there's probably little or nothing that anyone could say to add to the conversation - or the photographs already taken. But I'm going to do it anyway. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Brutalist Acropolis in the Great White North: Simon Fraser University

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Stairs to the Academic Quadrangle. One of two mosaic tile murals by artist Gordon Smith is visible. Photo ©Darren Bradley
I was just in Vancouver, Canada for a quick two-day trip to visit family for Christmas. The short visit meant that I would have almost no time to see or photograph any architecture - despite Vancouver being full of great modernist treasures. Fortunately, I did find an opening on Christmas Day to sneak away for a couple of hours. Most people, when given the opportunity spend a couple of hours in one of the world's most beautiful cities, would probably head to someplace like Granville Island or Stanley Park, to take in the sites. I went to Burnaby... 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Goodsill Residence

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The central courtyard of the Goodsill Residence by Vladimir Ossipoff (1953). Photo ©Darren Bradley

While recently in Honolulu, I had the rare treat of visiting another home designed by renowned Honolulu architect Vladimir Ossipoff. I've had the chance to visit and stay in several of his homes around Hawaii over the years, and have also blogged earlier about my friend Bob Liljestrand's stunning house. Every time I'm back in the islands, I try to see at least one more. This time, I finally got to see the Goodsill House. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Concrete in Paradise: The East-West Center at the University of Hawaii

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John F. Kennedy Theatre, by I.M. Pei (1962). Photo ©Darren Bradley
Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei is perhaps best known to Americans as the guy who designed the glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre museum in Paris. He also designed quite a few notable buildings around the world, including the Dallas City Hall, the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington, DC, the Kennedy Library, the Javits Center in New York, the Hancock Tower in Boston, and the Bank of China tower in Hong Kong, among others... But relatively few people know that he also designed a collection of buildings on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Jean Charlot Residence

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Rear elevation of the Charlot House. Photo ©Darren Bradley

While in Honolulu for a few days last week (more on that later), I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Charlot Residence in Kahala. I had to admit that I was not familiar with the property. After now seeing the house, I have to wonder why not, as it deserves to be very well known. The Charlot house is a beautiful blend of historical and regional design, as adapted to a truly modernist aesthetic. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Hidden Architectural Treasure in San Diego's Mission Valley

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The Garden Room here is a free-standing glassed in pavilion used for conferences. Photo ©Darren Bradley

I am frequently told by people who see my photos of buildings around town that they'd never noticed the buildings until they saw my photographs - even though they'd driven or walked past it for years. I take that as a compliment, and it's partially the point of why I do this in the first place - to get people to stop and notice and maybe even appreciate building they'd otherwise ignore. But recently, it was my turn to have someone else point out a building I never knew was there - even though I'd driven past it thousands of times. 


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mr. Church

Carlton Hills Lutheran Church
The Carlton Hills Lutheran Church in Santee, California was Des Laurier's first major commission after forming his own office. The church won an AIA National Award of Merit in 1959 for its innovative design, and numerous other designs for churches soon followed. The church features a graceful, sweeping hyperbolic paraboloid roof that would become a common characteristic for his designs, as well as concrete walls with cutouts for stained glass, inspired by Le Corbusier's design for Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France.
Photo ©Darren Bradley. 
Architect Robert E. Des Lauriers was one of San Diego's leading architects in the post-war period from the late 1950s through the 70s. While Des Lauriers designed many houses, commercial offices, and other buildings throughout San Diego, he developed a reputation for his designs of places of worship for all denominations, and become known as "Mr. Church." 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Niemeyer's Brutalist Masterpiece in France

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Siège du Parti Communiste Français. Photo ©Darren Bradley

While in Paris, I occasionally stop by the French Communist Party (PCF) headquarters building to see famed architect Oscar Niemeyer's most celebrated work in Paris.