Friday, July 30, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Literally built ‘on’ the hillside, this project is a classic mid-century modern house built in the mid 1950’s. The original house had been designed, built and occupied by the original architect and changed hands in 2006.
Our client loved the mid-century modern style and spent 8 months in Scandinavia living in the culture that helped spawn the movement. They came to us with three requests: 1) update the building to current standards of finish and space, 2) add more square footage for themselves and their family, and 3) keep the same charm and aesthetic of the original mid-century modern style.
The first thing we did was remove the wall between the existing kitchen and the living room to open up the floor plan and take advantage of the amazing ocean views from the new great room. Next, we designed a new stair to connect the upper level to the lower level and then completely re-thought the lower level. As opposed to adding a top floor or pushing out the footprint, we were able to create a spacious master suite on the lower level maintaining the existing bedrooms above for family.
Our design includes a new roof and new exterior finishes in the same mid-century modern style. We added new deck space for the lower level and a new cable rail system for the balconies around the house. Every room is remodeled and updated keeping the same post-and-beam aesthetic and most importantly the tongue-and-groove roof/ceiling for the upper floor.
AB Design Studio. Inc.
Santa Barbara, CA
Photographer: Ciro Coelho
many thanks to Aramis at AB design studio for providing the text and images....
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
At his peak in the sixties and seventies, Harry Weese was arguably Chicago’s preeminent architect, a visionary whose ideas helped revive the city’s fraying downtown and whose projects won worldwide acclaim. But his final years were marked by a sad, booze-saturated decline, and in time his reputation faded. Now a forthcoming examination of his architecture could restore him to the place of honor he deserves.
By Robert Sharoff
(Excerpted from "Reconstructing Harry Weese" in the July 2010 issue of Chicago Magazine)
Two years before her father, the visionary architect Harry Weese, died in 1998, Marcia Weese made a last lonely trip to visit him. After a spectacular alcohol-fueled crackup in the 1980s, Harry Weese had been committed to a dreary downstate veterans’ hospital, where he spent his final years drifting in and out of consciousness. “It was fall,” Marcia recalls, “and I found this gigantic sycamore leaf—probably 15 inches across. My dad loved trees, so I brought it down with me.” Her father by then had become a spectral figure, confined to bed and increasingly unresponsive after a series of strokes. “I know he recognized me,” she says, “but he didn’t—probably couldn’t—speak. So I laid the leaf on his chest.”
It was an oddly peaceful ending to a relationship that had both nurtured and wounded her over the years. No encounter with Harry Weese was without drama, and the closer you were to the bonfire of his outsize personality, the more likely you were to be singed.
Throughout his long life, Weese’s obsession never varied. As his wife, Kitty, recalled, “It was architecture all the way.” He often seemed close to flying off the tracks, both emotionally and intellectually, and eventually he did. But before that happened, Harry Weese had one of the wildest rides in the history of Chicago architecture. Over the course of his career, he designed almost a thousand buildings. These range from single-family houses, churches, schools, and small-town community buildings to Washington, D.C.’s enormous—and mind-boggling—Metro public transportation system, which opened in 1976. In his obituary of Weese, the New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp ranked the Metro as “among the greatest public works projects of [the 20th] century.” The vaulted spaces where stations intersect, Muschamp wrote, “induce an almost religious sense of awe.”
In Chicago, Weese’s many commissions include the Time & Life Building, the Latin School, and the Metropolitan Correctional Center, as well as such groundbreaking restoration projects as the Auditorium Theatre, the Field Museum, and Orchestra Hall.
At his peak in the 1960s and 1970s, Weese represented Chicago’s most sustained and successful alternative to what was then the overwhelming dominance of Mies van der Rohe and the International style. “When I joined Harry’s office [in 1961], it was like giving up the Church of England and becoming a Christian Scientist,” says Jack Hartray, who had previously worked as a designer at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, then and now the foremost proponent of Miesian modernism in the city. “Harry was a [modernist] architect who was doing very interesting buildings, but they weren’t like anyone else’s.”
Beyond specific buildings, Weese wielded influence with visionary planning schemes for transforming downtown Chicago. These ultimately included the creation of Printers Row, the city’s first loft district, as well as the redevelopment of the downtown riverfront as a residential and recreational area. “He talked more about the physical fabric of Chicago and what had to be done with it than any other architect of the period by a huge margin,” says the architectural historian Robert Bruegmann. “And this was during the very worst years—the late sixties through the early eighties—when it looked like central Chicago could go under the same way Detroit and St. Louis did. One of the reasons that didn’t happen is Harry Weese.”
Bruegmann is the author of The Architecture of Harry Weese, a new critical study that Norton will publish in September. The book is the first about a man who once commanded international attention but is now rarely mentioned. Part of this, of course, relates to the eternal tides of taste and fashion. The postwar generation of architects, of which Weese was a leading member, went severely out of style in the eighties and nineties.
But part also relates to the King Lear–like grandeur of Weese’s fall. Over the last stormy decade of his life, he went from a man at the pinnacle of his profession to a raging, disheveled figure who could often be found wandering the city’s streets. “It’s something you say wasn’t a part of Harry Weese,” says Ben Weese, an architect and Harry’s adored younger brother. “You have to separate yourself from it.”
“I don’t think he ever wanted to quit drinking,” says Shirley Weese Young, his second-oldest daughter. “He liked being badly behaved. He was a rebel.”
Story reprinted with permission of the author - Robert Sharoff
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Monday, July 05, 2010
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Adams Fleming House
On a street of historic, working-class cottages in Toronto’s west end, adjacent to a railway line and a supermarket parking lot, a vacant auto-body shop may have seemed like an unlikely impetus for a residence with a domestic character. The clients—Debbie Adams, a graphic designer, and Peter Fleming, a furniture designer/craftsman—had a limited budget but considerable talent and resources. Working with Levitt Goodman Architects, the project became a laboratory for artistic collaboration and experimentation. Over several years they have transformed the industrial site into an artful urban oasis.
An introverted plan strategically shuts out the auditory and visual noise of the city and gives the couple an opportunity to enjoy the quiet fugue of their home and their fine collections of modernist furniture and contemporary art. The private areas of the house are nestled into one corner, with the kitchen, dining and living rooms forming an “L” around them. These are bathed in sunlight and feature panoramic views of the gardens through oversized windows that were once the garage doors. The bedrooms and bathrooms are raised on a platform, creating domestic ceiling heights as well as much-needed storage underneath. A second storey was added with a large open studio space for work and musical jam sessions (Debbie and Peter play bluegrass strings). The roof is prepped for a future roof garden that will create the impression that the house is floating in a field while also tempering the temperature and air quality of the house.
Much charm comes from the elements that illustrate the house’s rich collaborative spirit. For example, Levitt Goodman composed a wall around the living room fireplace with panels of steel found on the site; Peter then rusted and waxed them to a red, velvety appearance. Levitt Goodman designed an ensuite bathroom in which Peter created an unusually shaped concrete tub, custom-fitted to Debbie’s proportions.
The garden is a successful mismatch of styles, including an outdoor dining room, a fountain plunge pool,
a vegetable garden, a French-style orchard, as well as beds of native plants and grasses. Amid such dense planting, one can barely see the Goodwill donation trailer that sits in the supermarket parking lot just over the garden wall.
The project not only cleaned up a brown field site and infused a richly-planted garden, it also incorporated energy-efficient systems that were rare when the project began. These include radiant floor heating, on- demand hot water, plenty of large, functional windows, skylights and “Sun Tunnels” that bring natural light into the heart of the house where there are no external windows.
The fluid collaboration of experts on this project has resulted in a house that exudes originality and extraordinary craftsmanship. A clear celebration of art is merged with an ecological emphasis, transforming industrial debris into a domestic sanctum with an artistic and rural sensibility.
Thanks to Naomi for providing the images and project description....
Photo Credit: Ben Rahn/A-Frame