Thursday, December 2, 2010

Architecture of the Sun; This Week's Books' Last Look

From the Barnes and Noble website:  "An authoritative survey of the masters of twentieth-century modernist architecture in Los Angeles. This revisionist study explores the history of modernist architecture in Greater Los Angeles from the early twentieth century to the 1970s, focusing on both its regional and international contexts. Thomas Hines critically analyzes the concepts of modernism and regionalism and begins his exploration by contrasting the turn-of-the-century Craftsman work of Charles and Henry Greene with the rationalist modernism of their contemporary Irving Gill and the expressionist modernism of Frank Lloyd Wright and his son Lloyd Wright. The book re-interprets the modernist variations of Wright’s disciple Rudolph Schindler and the International Style of his contemporary Richard Neutra, as well as of their followers: Gregory Ain, Raphael Soriano, and Harwell Harris. The minimalist Case Study House program is contrasted with the sensuous modernism of John Lautner and with the large-scale modernism of William Pereira and Welton Becket. Hines ends the book in the early 1970s, as modernism began to confront the challenge of the post-modernist critique. A personal epilogue reflects on the author’s exploration of Los Angeles modernism from the late 1960s to 2009. "

And from reviews on the same site:

"Shines Brilliantly"

 Customer Rating See Detailed Ratings

Posted April 23, 2010, 12:03 AM EST: This book is a must for all scholars and a resource that fills a glaring gap in southern California architectual and cultural history. Beyond that it is a book that places the works of Gill, the Wrights, Schindler, Neutra.and others in the context of this unique place and time where their contributions are seen in the historic prism of their influence on the development of Los Angeles Modern Style. In no other place in the world did we have such an experimental breeding ground for these giants. Thankfully most of these works survive and we are grateful that this beautiful volume has made it possible for people all over the world to enjoy this architectural and historic miracle.

I can't say enough about the worlds that have opened up to Mr. Paradis and me on these subjects since we moved to L.A.  But you probably only have time for pictures.  Yes, most of these places are still standing in Southern California and some you would be able to visit.   If you buy the BOOK however? Well the book will take you to them all.
The Eames House, home to Charles and Ray Eames

The Kaufman House by Richard Neutra above and below, in Palm Springs, link to New York Times story. 

Fantastical (party) environments designed by John Lautner

All beautifully photographed and formatted in this stunning and informative book (which does now occupy brand new PRIDE-OF-PLACE at Palace Paradis).  For more ideas of the subjects you will find,  click on the links for:

The Gamble House, Pasadena - Craftsman Style Palace built for a toothpaste mogul

Irving Gill ......... you will be surprised at how much of Los Angeles looks like (and was!) his work.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, owned and scandalously underfunded by the City of LA, including the website at the moment apparently, (so from Wikipedia and here, more info).  And the Ennis House, a private residence within view of the Hollyhock House, another Frank Lloyd Wright structure, and sad story behind it here and here - the last so well told and beautifully illustrated by a real estate professional.  It makes you wonder why the wealth and artistic talent in Los Angeles, not to speak of the greater culture (or the world) cannot come together successfully to ensure the future of these structures for future visitors.  At the moment, it is very much in doubt.

Lloyd Wright's Hollywood Bowl - The son of Frank Lloyd Wright, born in Santa Monica  (and charged, along with Rudolph Schindler, with overseeing much of the construction of Hollyhock House while his father was designing the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo) has a much larger architectural footprint in L.A. than did his father.

And not least at all, The Schindler House on Hollywood Road.  

If you bought the book, or borrowed it from a friend or the library, you wouldn't have to do all the bloody clicking here and there around the web that I've had to today!

There's a whole parallel universe in this book!  Come back and talk to me about it.

******   For other book ideas see my LABEL "BOOKS" to the right.

And DON'T FORGET!  Sophie's gorgeous "Homage to the Seed" Book will shortly be available including artworks by YOU!!!!!! (and me!)  Find it here

If you become a Xmas book giver - just think of the happy hours browsing somewhere trying to find JUST THE RIGHT ONE!!!!!!!


(p.s. apologies to those photographers not credited here.  i'll be adding photo credits to this post in the next week)


  1. love these images! have you read THE WOMEN or LOVING FRANK?

  2. hi cate! glad you liked! no i haven't read those two (see last post!) but have read about them. they are on my list though and I CAN JUST IMAGINE! that Frank Lloyd Wright was quite a personality!

  3. I've just popped over to Sophie Munn's site, wonderful, what wonderful work, and then I went to some of her blogs she reads, and some very inspiring stuff was found, it's lethal isn't it, the blogoshere?! Hugo and I fantasise about building our own modern house, bit like those you've featured! Love Vanessa xxx

  4. Oh! how beautiful... Thank you!

  5. Here in South of France, it's really like these places in summer... so I like all these houses. Perfect to sleep without sound and hot sun.

  6. charles i'm so glad you said that! south of france would have been my first choice of places to live. nice to hear that you think california comes close!