Sunday, July 27, 2014

El Rancho Vista Estates

El Rancho Vista Estates
Photo ©Darren Bradley
When I first visited El Rancho Vista Estates in 1999, it was a sad experience, and more than a bit frightening. I was even concerned about getting out of my car. Its turnaround today, to one of the most beautiful and intact modernist neighborhoods in the Coachella Valley, is a shining example of how preservation can work for a community. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Brutalist Enclave in a Sydney Suburb

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UTS Kuring-gai. Photo ©Darren Bradley
The architect stated that the natural landscape was so beautiful, it should not have been built on. But he did it anyway. And I'm very glad he did. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Climate Change: Mid-century modern La Jolla

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Period photo by Charles Schneider of the Russell Forester Residence. Much of the furniture and objects seen in the photo can be viewed in person at the exhibition. 
La Jolla (pronounced "La Hoya" for the non locals and non-hispanically inclined) is a small, exclusive resort town just north of downtown San Diego. As far as architecture goes, it's long been known for its late 19th and early 20th century traditional, craftsman-style beach cottages. But La Jolla was also fertile ground for modernism beginning even in the 1920s. The post-war period was an especially prolific time in La Jolla, and a small group of architects, artists, and craftsmen made a significant impact on the community with their contributions. These contributions have been largely overlooked until now. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Lillie Residence

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Carmen and Todd in their dining room. Lillie Residence by Lloyd Ruocco. Photo ©Darren Bradley
Architect Lloyd Ruocco left an enduring mark on San Diego, through his unobtrusive architecture that seems to disappear into the surrounding environment. There are many examples throughout the county - and especially in the east around Mt. Helix. The Lillie Residence is the nicest example of Ruocco's work that I've ever seen. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Missed Opportunity

South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
SAHMRI Photo ©Darren Bradley
The South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) has just been completed in Adelaide, South Australia by the architectural firm of Woods Bagot. I've been watching it go up for the past couple of year during my frequent visits to Adelaide, and documenting its progress. Finally, the SAHMRI building has been completed, which coincided with my most recent visit to that fair city. So I was really looking forward to the opportunity of finally seeing the interior and perhaps getting a few photographs from inside. That didn't happen. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Ullman Residence

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Photo ©Darren Bradley
The Ullman Residence was designed by local San Diego architect John Mock in 1964. Like Ellwood's Bobertz Residence, it's a perfect example of what can happen when the right owners find the right house. It's without question one of the nicest and most pristine modernist homes in San Diego. But it wouldn't be this way if not for the herculean efforts of its owners, Loretta & Mark Chavez. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Bobertz Residence

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Bobertz Residence by Craig Ellwood (1953). Photo ©Darren Bradley
The Bobertz Residence is the only home designed by Craig Ellwood (with Ernie Jacks and Jerrold Lomax) in San Diego County. The young couple who commissioned it - Gerry & Charles Bobertz - had recently arrived from upstate New York by way of a brief stint in the SF Bay area. They were avid fans of John Entenza's Arts & Architecture magazine, and chose Ellwood as the architect of their new home after seeing his work in the Case Study House Program. And indeed, this could easily have been one of the homes featured in that program.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Columbus, Indiana

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North Christian Church by Eero Saarinen (1954). Photo ©Darren Bradley
In my previous blog post, I talked about my visit to the famous Miller House in Columbus, Indiana. That house was the legacy of one exceptional man - J. Irwin Miller, CEO of the Cummins Diesel Engine Company. But his legacy didn't stop at the front door of his own home. Turns out, Miller left an extensive legacy of modernist architecture in his home town - enough to make this small city of 40,000 in southern Indiana one of the most important concentrations of significant architecture in the country, if not the world. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Miller Residence

I wish I had a conversation pit
A view from the conversation pit. Photo ©Darren Bradley
In 1953, a man in a small, mid-western town in southern Indiana asked his good friend - who happened to be an architect - to design a new home for his family. It had to be relatively modest in scale and intimate, but also practical and functional for both raising a family and entertaining hundreds of guests. Not an easy task. But in this case, the man was J. Irwin Miller, the small, mid-western town was Columbus, and the architect was Eero Saarinen. And the result is magical. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A few words about Tokyo

You know you're in Tokyo when...
Yes, that's a giant beetle on the side of that building. Photo ©Darren Bradley
I've already written about my time in Kyoto here, and Naoshima Island here. But no trip to Japan would be complete without a visit to Tokyo. When I was there, I heard it called the most beautiful ugly city in the world. I would agree with that assessment.