Archive for the ‘mcm’ Tag

Volsky Residence by Charles Haertling   6 comments

Volsky Residence , Boulder, CO - 1965

“Early in Haertling’s career he was commissioned by University of Colorado psychology professor Theodore Volsky to design a house for his family of four on a steep hillside lot extending from a mountain stream in west Boulder. The lot featured views in all directions, half of them slightly upwards to the mountains. The Volskys were interested in taking advantage of these views in a dramatic living room situation. The prominent upward views suggested the upwards curving catenary roof form open to the high view areas while still maintaining interior scale. One gets a 360′ view from the curtain-less living room of the mountains to the west and south, and the plains and cityscape to the east and north. The steepness of the site was accommodated by lowering the house into the earth as much as possible to the rear and allowing light in by way of large lightwells. For basic economy a circular floor plan was conceived, which allowed for increased circulation in the smaller area of the circle and for larger rooms with minimum access distance. 
The living room sits atop the circular form blossoming at the highest point from the ground that capitalizes on the excitement of the terrain. The lower level contains a recreation room and the entry. Upon ascending the stairs one emerges into an interior garden which not only surprises and delights, but also is very functional in that it serves also as a short cut between living areas.

During the construction of the Volsky house a dozen of the neighbors collaborated on a letter of protest regarding its “sheer grossness”, and voicing their concern over “a definite though incalculable loss of property values.” Within a year of the completion of the house Life Magazine printed a 6 page article on it in their Ideas in Houses section. In the following years it appeared on CBS-TV’s show “21st Century” hosted by Walter Cronkite, Schonen Wohnen, and L’Architecture D’aujourd’hui magazines. Since that time the Volskys have made a hobby of maintaining the house in its original form.”

Volsky Residence , Boulder, CO - 1965

From LIFE Magazine, 1966:

Volsky Residence , Boulder, CO - 1965

Volsky Residence , Boulder, CO - 1965

Volsky Residence , Boulder, CO - 1965

Volsky Residence , Boulder, CO - 1965

Volsky Residence , Boulder, CO - 1965

More LIFE pics:

Volsky Residence , Boulder, CO - 1965

Volsky Residence , Boulder, CO - 1965

All Photos: Michael Rougier


Charles A. Haertling – Architect A.I.A.

Charles Haertling (Wikipedia)

Outside the box – The Rocky Mountain News

Work by the wonderful Charles Haertling!

Posted April 19, 2010 by mcarch in History

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From LIFE: The Bowman Residence by Paul Hayden Kirk   2 comments

From Google’s LIFE Photo Archives is the Bowman Residence located in Kirkland, Washington. Photographed in June 1958 by Nat Farbman:

From University of Washington – Dearborn-Massar Collection:


Paul H. Kirk bio on Docomomo WEWA

From University of Washington – Dearborn-Massar Collection

Posted April 14, 2010 by mcarch in General

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Wilt “The Stilt” and His House on the Hill   15 comments

Ready for a another athlete’s home? You already got an insider’s view of Willie Mays’ pad from the 60s, so let’s see how Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain pushed the limits of mod living as shown in Life from March 24, 1972 and the January 1974 issue of Ebony. The architect was David Tenneson Rich who has the story of his involvement on his site.

Here’s more info from Big Time Listings when the house was sold in 2007:

“Built in 1971, the five-bedroom, 7,158-square-foot contemporary-style house at 15216 Antelo Place in Bel-Air was built by Chamberlain, who lived there until his death in 1999. TV writers George Meyer and Maria Semple purchased the house from Chamberlain’s estate in 2002 for nearly $3 million, and have owned it ever since. The house has attracted much attention over the years—both with this listing and in 2000-2002, when Chamberlain’s estate was trying to unload it, first for $7.45 million and later reducing its asking price to $4.38 million. The house’s unconventional (some might say tacky) features include a gold-lined hot tub, a retractable mirrored ceiling above the master bed, a swimming pool that flows into the living room, walls of glass, 40-foot ceilings, a wrap-around pool, and a balcony suspended over the living room, according to listing information. Other features include five and a half baths and teak finishes, according to listing information.

The house sits on a 2.58-acre parcel that has ocean and city views, according to public records and listing information.”

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Posted January 31, 2010 by mcarch in General

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Craig Ellwood’s Daphne Residence on the Market – Update: Sold on 08/31/2010 for $2,525,000   3 comments

When you’ve only seen a house in photos taken 50 years ago, you’re not sure if you want to see it in its present-day condition. So, it’s a pleasant surprise to see the Daphne house looking kept up (if a little overgrown) and still looking like its original self.

Nicholas and Virginia Daphne commissioned Craig Ellwood to design their house in the late 50s after trying unsuccessfully to work with Frank Lloyd Wright on a house design. In 1953, Mr. Daphne had visited and admired Ellwood’s Case Study House No. 16.

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Posted October 21, 2008 by mcarch in Ellwood, Preservation, Real Estate

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Another Neutra on the Market   1 comment

At considerable less cost ($1.259M) than Neutra’s remuddled Singleton residence, this Philadelphia house built in 1959 was originally the Hassrick residence. It was placed on the market by the second owners in 2002. Now, here it is again. The realtor’s description says it has fallen into disrepair. What happened in six years?

Here are some pics from the 2002 site:

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Posted March 27, 2008 by mcarch in Neutra, Real Estate

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MCM Architects on the Record   2 comments

The Art Institute of Chicago has a large collection of transcripts of interviews with 20th Century architects “who shaped the physical environment in Chicago and surrounding communities”. Many of them are mid-century modernists who were well known in their day. Unfortunately, most have passed on and are becoming forgotten.

Here are a few with examples of their work:

Lever House

Bunshaft Residence - 1
Bunshaft Residence

Marina City

Leavengood Residence

For more interviews: Chicago Architects Oral History Project

Posted March 7, 2008 by mcarch in General

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MCM Reborn! II   Leave a comment

Nice article from the folks at The Globe And Mail about the restoration and expansion of an mcm house built in 1956. The architect was Robert R. McKee from Vancouver. There’s practically no info about him online, though the name seems familiar. The expansion was carried out by Nick Milkovich, a frequent collaborator with Arthur Erickson. Wish there were more pics.

The Globe And Mail article:

‘Every time it snows,” says Bruce Stuart, “I put on Mike Oldfield’s recording of Tubular Bells, then watch the snowflakes drift down into the glass courtyard.”

The theme from The Exorcist may be a fitting musical accompaniment to watching flakes dart and dance, but the house pride of Mr. Stuart and wife Marg is the tune that truly resonates here.

We are gazing at the 16-foot-square, glassed-in, snow-collecting courtyard at the centre of their modernist, Palm Springs-style house, designed by Vancouver architect R.R. McKee in 1956 for Stanley Woroway, owner of a beauty supplies company.

Mr. Stuart, a management consultant, and his wife, an interior designer, have restored the Endowment Lands home and added an extension. With its flavour of the 1960s desert retreats of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., the Stuart home stands in stark contrast to a woodsy West Coast-style house next door, designed by Ron Thom.

While the Stuart home’s window proportions and eave-height run of slatted sun-screens are carefully worked out, the plan of this squared-out house on a large lot with spectacular view could hardly be simpler: A square doughnut of living spaces and bedrooms around the central courtyard, the perimeter panorama wall overlooking Burrard Inlet set in continuous glass.

From the get-go, this was a house for light-worshippers, but the daily stream of photons proved too much for the previous owners. “They had three layers of heavy drapes,” recalls Ms. Stuart, “so the first thing we did was get rid of all of them.”

The Stuarts and their two sons moved from a Kerrisdale Victorian ex-farmhouse to this mid-century modern home in 2002. The Modern Movement in architecture wanted to break down previous conventions – even family life itself – in its tradition-questioning cult of the new. For the Stuarts, the open plan and visual connection between rooms meant adjusting to more noise and less privacy.

“At first it was like living in a glass yurt,” says Mr. Stuart, at ease in his luminous living room, “but we all adjusted, then came to love it.” Some things were harder to accept, such as running his globe-girdling consulting business from the only office space available – a windowless basement.

As the couple began planning their renovation/extension, Ms. Stuart drew upon her training at the University of Manitoba, where an interior design classmate was the now-famous Patricia Patkau. The two pursued their studies in the Russell Building, architect Jim Donahue’s superb academic pavilion inspired by Mies van der Rohe. At the centre of the Russell Building is an intimately scaled courtyard, ringed with floor-to-ceiling glass like the Woroway house.

“I guess working day and night as a design student in a modernist building with a courtyard prepared me – I instantly liked the McKee design,” Ms. Stuart says.

In carrying out their home’s extension, the Stuarts’ first commitment was an enlightened one: they engaged neighbour and noted landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander. She meticulously saved and replanted shrubs and small trees elsewhere on site, set the fieldstone pavers, laid out a small formal garden, and helped set the location for the planned addition. As architect for the new wing, Ms. Oberlander suggested a fellow frequent Arthur Erickson collaborator, Nick Milkovich.

He extended the breezeway roof toward the street, placing a new guest room at the end. This wing forms one side of the U-shaped addition, the other side given over in part to one of the children’s bedrooms, but most of its length devoted to a large home office.

Between the arms of the new wings is a large reflecting pool, marked out on one side with thin columns that bear angled aluminum solar slats to temper light from above. This mirrors Mr. McKee’s original sunscreen idea, updated and shifted in texture and materials.

Mr. Milkovich’s only design gaffe, to my mind, is at the end of the reflecting pool, where water from two over-large basins cascades to the formal pool. These basins are scaled for an office or academic building, not a house, and are not well-integrated into Ms. Oberlander’s landscape design.

But the cladding material, window forms and roof/floor heights of Mr. Milkovich’s addition are otherwise respectful, almost reverential, to Mr. McKee’s 1956 design.

This is the best restoration of a modernist house in British Columbia since 2000, when Tom Field revealed his hands-on restoration of Mr. Erickson’s Filberg House in Comox.

The Stuarts were moved to invite media attention to their home after reading about the December demolition of Mr. Erickson’s Graham House in West Vancouver. “In Vancouver, we have so little architectural heritage, so it’s a shame when we don’t hang on to what we have,” Mr. Stuart says.

Maybe the Stuarts inspired renovation will spark the desire in other homeowners to conserve and extend modernist homes, rather than throw them away.

It all starts with reflection and observation, as Marg Stuart did 40 years ago, sitting in a university courtyard with her sketchbook on her lap, gazing at a single tree made more profound by being framed with bold architecture.

Read Article here: Modernist home gets a 21st century update

Interesting post about forgotten architects: Architects We’ve Never Heard Of


Posted March 5, 2008 by mcarch in Canada, Preservation

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