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Preserving Modern Architecture

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

House Beautiful Follows a Sixties Ranch Modern Makeover

Becky

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Do you ever read about someone and everything about them just resonates with you? I chuckled when I read that Annie Selke was downsizing from her 8 bedroom 1887 Berkshires house to a sixties ranch half its size because “I knew I had to move after watching Grey Gardens on HBO. I thought ‘That could be me one day, surrounded by my dogs and piles of old magazines, with raccoons living in the empty rooms.’” Hmmm, that sounds so familiar – I wonder if Annie has ever caught an episode of Hoarders on A&E? She also recommends hiring an opinionated professional organizer and leaving town when you sell off the leftovers. In addition, she says she was drawn to her current sixties ranch house because she was in a Mad Men frame of mind. Oh, by the way, Annie is the visionary behind Pine Cone Hill, and as I was reading this article I was wearing the softest pink fuzzy Pine Cone Hill top that my mom gave me for Christmas (every woman in our family now has one. If you’ve never tried their PJs, I highly recommend them!).

So, I read all about Annie in the February 2010 issue of House Beautiful that arrived today. I am so excited to follow their new year-long series which will follow Annie as she renovates her new ranch. Her friend and architect, John Gilmer, will be helping her every step of the way.

While you’re going to have to buy the current issue of HB in order to follow Annie, it’s worth it. Here’s a peek at another one of her designs on the cover a year ago.

Already a House Beautiful fan? Don’t miss the ladies of The Skirted Roundtable chatting with Stephen Drucker, the Editor-in-Chief of HB.

House Beautiful cover photographed by John Kernick

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Thursday, December 17th, 2009

The Rosenbaum House: Frank Lloyd Wright in Alabama

Becky

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1087079401_73ce6a8f19(Photo by flickr member wahlmic.)

If you live in the Southeastern United States and you’d like a good dose of Frank Lloyd Wright, The Rosenbaum House in Florence, Alabama is awaiting your visit. Designed by FLW and built in 1939 on a budget of $14,000, the house was in a terribly dilapidated state after Mrs. Rosenbaum, moved to a retirement home in 1999. The City of Florence stepped in, bought the property, and spent over $700,000 and several years painstakingly restoring it. Almost all of the furnishings are the original Wright-designed pieces that the Rosenbaums used for decades, and the house is now open to the public for tours. For information about visiting the only FLW Usonian house open to the public in the southeast, or to learn how to become a volunteer there, please visit wrightinalabama.com. There is also a great article about the history of the house and the restoration in Preservation.

Speaking of Preservation, if you are looking for worthy causes to donate to as the year comes to an end, consider donating to The National Trust for Historic Preservation. When you become a member, a subscription to Preservation is included and it’s a great magazine.

3210733794_03860ac55fphoto from flickr member alabama tourism department

3210733726_86df8d10ffphoto from flickr member alabama tourism department

2299977400_06c66f10d0from flickr member Parker Anderson

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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

What Every Architecture Studio Should Look Like: Alvar Aalto’s Digs

Becky

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aalto-office-draft-2_rect640
Hmmm, Clearly I’m spending a lot of time on Apartment Therapy house tours this week. Basically, I pull up their site and go straight to the House Tours tab on the left. They have their their best tour ever up right now. It’s Alvar Aalto’s studio in Helsinki (it’s now the home of the Alvar Aalto Foundation, the Alvar Aalto Academy and the Alvar Aalto Museum Architectural Heritage). Way to go AT.

aalto-office-draft-4_rect640

To see the full tour, click here. I highly recommend it!

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Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

In Memorium: Lawrence Halprin Dies at 93

Becky

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I was sad to hear of Lawrence Halprin’s passing on Sunday night. He was one of my favorite landscape architects. For eleven years, I lived in Charlottesville Virginia and was able to enjoy the Halprin-designed Downtown Mall. I could go on about his best-known projects, like Ghiradelli Square or the FDR Memorial, but my very favorite design of his is Lovejoy Plaza in Portland, OR, and a glance at his sketchbook pages tell you all you need to know about why his designs work so well. Without weighing us down with a bunch of archispeak gibberish, we can follow the idea from it’s initial contextual inspirations to the final product:


I should have known when I went to find a picture of Lovejoy Plaza on flickr that my favorite one would have been taken by Ken McCowen. To see more beautiful images of Halprin’s work taken by Ken, click here.

Halprin was that perfect combination of conscientious urban problem solver who understood natural processes. He did such an artful job of understanding the greater context of a place and bringing his interpretations of ecology into cities in an artful way. Lovejoy Park is a perfect example of this. He contributed so much to the American landscape; whether helping to heal the gash a freeway cut through a neighborhood in Seattle or protecting the land by leaving a soft footprint at Sea Ranch. He will be missed.

For more information on the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, click here.

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Monday, August 17th, 2009

Speaking of Colorado Ranches…

Becky

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It got me thinking about my favorite vernacular architecture in the USA – our barns. As small farmers become scarcer and scarcer, these beautiful structures that dot the rural landscape are falling into ruin as well. If you are interested in helping to preserve America’s barns, check out The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Barn Again! effort.

photograph by flickr member im pastor rick

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