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The California Hacienda

Cliff May’s childhood spent on an early Golden State ranch developed his gift for building classic Spanish-style houses throughout Los Angeles and San Diego. by Jocelyn Gibbs Cliff May’s prolific career as a designer and builder of modern California ranch houses and haciendas began in San Diego in 1931, but his legacy continued to grow long after his 1989 death. Although an untrained designer, May...

Casa de Pajaros

Casa de Pajaros

ArchitectureforSale, Quarterly presents an archival interview by a noted novelist with self-educated architect Herman Koller, who built a fantastical Southwest home in Pasadena that remains a marvel. by Kay Haugaard Herman Koller is a slight man who looks at you like an old prospector squinting into the sun. But don’t let his unassuming style fool you. He has accomplished an enormous feat. It required...

Conceptual Voyagers

Conceptual Voyagers

Michael Rotondi’s collaboration with Clark Stevens and two adventurous clients inspires an iconic constructivist dwelling. by Pierluigi Serraino, AIA Buildings are like cats. Sometimes they can have many lives, although rarely, if  ever, nine as the proverb goes. The Carlson-Reges house in downtown Los Angeles is the story of one of those lives, an architectural permutation of how a structure can...

Hidden in Plain Site

Hidden in Plain Sight

by Alan Hess The names of countless modern architects have faded into the mists of time. Once in a while, however, one of these forgotten architects will reemerge, becoming part of a larger conversation, especially if one of his or her buildings is fortunate enough to have survived and has captured our attention with its remarkable character. Webster and Wilson are among such architects; and the Wade...

What makes an architect-designed house significant?

What Makes an Architect-designed House Significant?

  The case for identifying and preserving houses with true architectural merit. by Nicholas Olsberg “Frank Lloyd Wright designed our house,” announce the parents of the teenage characters in the 1959 Sandra Dee film, A Summer Place. After establishing their home’s pedigree, these same parents walk visitors from the entry of Wright’s Della Walker house in Carmel into an interior set...

Modernism on the Ranch

In conversation with Mark Morrison, architect Phillip Jon Brown recounts the challenges he faced in 1984: designing an elegant and surprising two-story modernist residence on Errol Flynn’s former ranch, a parcel of land as wild as its former owner’s social life. by Mark Morrison In 1984, Philip Brown was an emerging USC-trained architect and urban planner who had only designed six houses—two of...

Gilbert Stanley Underwood

Understanding Underwood

Understanding Underwood Known for his rustic lodges and grand depots, Gilbert Stanley Underwood changed the architectural landscape of the American West—and his rambling 1928 Hollywood Knolls home is just as modest as he was. by Ann Scheid Gilbert Stanley Underwood was a quiet man who preferred to live a quiet life. Aloof and serious about his work, he was prolific in his Los Angeles practice, yet...

Donald Olsen

Glass Act

With his see-through Bay Area home, Donald Olsen proved that a glass house can be as private and practical as it is aesthetically pleasing. by Pierluigi Serraino, AIA Mies Van Der Rohe may have coined the architectural aphorism, “Less Is More,” but it didn’t stop him from living in an unremarkable apartment on a historic block in downtown Chicago. Likewise, the equally celebrated Finnish-American...

Frank Lloyd Wright

Being Frank

On the occasion of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday, a new look at his textile-block homes shows they were more than modern wonders—they were hotbeds of cultural exchange in an emerging City of Angels. by John Crosse Much has been written about Frank Lloyd Wright’s Mayan-inspired Southern California architecture of the early 1920s. Yet, relatively little is known about his West Coast sojourns...

Oscar Niemeyer, Architect

The Lost Niemeyer

After five decades of relative obscurity, Oscar Niemeyer’s forgotten masterpiece, Alto de Pinheiros, has been rediscovered in a lush corner of São Paulo, Brazil. by Manuel Montenegro and Nicholas Olsberg Tucked inside one of the leafy Garden City developments near the Pinheiros River in western São Paulo, sits a fairly inconspicuous semi-urban villa built in 1974 for a prosperous Brazilian family....

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