Frank Lloyd’s blog

Art, architecture and the people that I know.

Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles architecture

Frederick Fisher and Partners

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I was very pleased to learn recently that the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles has honored Frederick Fisher with its 2013 Presidential Gold Medal. In selecting this year’s honorees, the Board chose to recognize individuals who take on leadership roles in advancing the practice of architecture in Los Angeles.

Install_5 copyThis honor is well deserved by Fred and his partners David Ross and Joe Coriaty. Frederick Fisher and Partners designed my gallery at Bergamot Station, back in 1996. Fred’s great to work with, as he and his firm really know about art spaces. He was immediately sensitive to my needs as a gallery owner, going so far as to include small drawings of Adrian Saxe and Roseline Delisle artworks in his preliminary drawings. He accepted the challenge of intimate viewing spaces within a large volume of space. I’ve witnessed the level of attention to detail that Fred extends to all his clients, so it’s not a surprise to see him recognized like this.

Fred’s other art spaces included the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, the Broad Art Foundation, The Erburu Gallery at the Huntington, the Oceanside Museum, and L.A. Louver Gallery. Congratulations to Frederick Fisher and Partners on the award and the recognition from his peers!

Frank Gehry Selects

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A Group Show of Ceramics including work by John Mason, Ken Price, Peter Voulkos, Frank Gehry, Billy Al Bengston, Elsa Rady, Peter Shire, Glen Lukens, and George Ohr

When Frank Gehry took a ceramics class in college, it marked a turning point. His ceramics teacher at the University of Southern California, Glen Lukens, clearly recognized Gehry’s interest in architecture. Since Lukens was building a house designed by architect Raphael Soriano, he invited the young Gehry to visit the site one day. That’s when Gehry got excited about architecture: “I do know a lightbulb went off when I saw Soriano,” he recalled.

Since that time, Gehry has maintained his interest in ceramics, too. He made ceramic works during his student days at USC, and he has collected work by Glen Lukens, Ken Price and George Ohr. He has been friends with Peter Voulkos, John Mason, Billy Al Bengston and Elsa Rady for decades. He was the architect for the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi, as well, and that museum will hold a collection of pottery by George Ohr.

This exhibition, on view from July 24 through August 21, grew out of a conversation between Frank Lloyd and Frank Gehry. It started as a casual idea, and grew into an exhibition—works chosen by Gehry, by people that he knows and respects. It marks an opportunity to see a variety of approaches to ceramic art, in a selection by a world-class architect. The exhibit also demonstrates, once again, the integration of the ceramic arts into the larger world of Southern California art and architecture.

Available Material Part 2

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Recently, I wrote about an old idea: use the available material.  In that post, I noted that California is full of strong structures that use simple materials, and marry them to a natural setting. I also gave some examples from a fall road trip to Northern California.  Fortunately, trails and wooded areas are never too far away from me, and I often walk in the Arroyo Seco, near my home.  On the east and west banks of the Arroyo, there are homes built of rounded river rocks and long shaped beams. Some are legendary, part of the architectural setting for the Arts and Crafts movement in the early 20th century.

Batchelder House copyThe landscape of the Arroyo Seco was the setting for Ernst A. Batchelder’s house. Batchelder became, in the early part of the 20th century, a well-known designer and producer of decorative ceramic tile. On Arroyo Drive, at a curve on the eastern bank, sits his unimposing home and studio. It nestles into the shady oaks nearby.  From the street, the front elevation shows a strong-beamed, shingled house with brick and stone at the foundation. According to architectural historian David Gebhard, a kiln still stands in the backyard, where the now-coveted Batchelder architectural tiles were first produced.

On the opposite side of the same street lies La Casita del Arroyo, a low-slung structure. I wandered around this public meetinghouse recently, and took some pictures.  The hall seems to step down into the steep bank of the Arroyo, and the imposing chimney stands broad and strong. The stone construction is rough. As I learned (from David Gebhard and Robert Winter’s Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide), architect Myron Hunt “donated his services and designed this structure using boulders and sand from the Arroyo, fallen trees from higher up the canyon, and even part of the bicycle track abandoned after its use in the 1932 Olympics.”

Written by Frank Lloyd

November 24, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Richard Neutra: The Perkins House

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When I was a teenage student, I took a test called the Kuder Interest Inventory.  I’m sure it was part of the counseling program for college-bound kids in South Pasadena, where I grew up.  I scored in the 98th percentile for architecture, which wasn’t a surprise—then, or now. So, what was the next step?  “Find opportunities to develop skills here and ask people what they like about their work,” the counselors told me.

I followed up right away.  Fortunately, the architectural offices of Whitney R. Smith were right next to the Junior High School. I boldly called and asked for an appointment. To his credit, Whitney Smith kindly scheduled a time for me (and two like-minded friends) to come to his design studio and office complex. We toured the drafting rooms, saw architectural models, and learned about new building materials—all from one of the most respected architects in the region.  The office still stands, a landmark of mid-century modern building design.

But an even greater opportunity awaited me.  At South Pasadena High School, I was enrolled in drawing, painting and art history classes with a mentor, Jack Dalton.  Once Mr. Dalton learned of my interest in architecture, he arranged for me to go to a small house designed for his colleague, the art historian and critic Constance Perkins.  We drove to the San Rafael Hills, and ascended mid-way up Poppy Peak Drive to the Perkins House, designed by Richard Neutra.

I had never seen such a home, and still remember climbing the stairs and entering the small but perfectly composed rooms.  Ms. Perkins explained that all of the cabinetry was built for her height and reach, and that Neutra had measured her library of books. These were new concepts for me.  For anyone wanting to learn about modern architecture, that day was inspiring—especially to look out from the living area to the San Gabriel mountains, through the famous glass corner, over the fish pond.

I still drive up Poppy Peak, and stop to admire the simplicity and perfection of a small jewel of modern residential architecture.  The impression of that day has never diminished, and I’ve toured other Neutra homes when they are open.  I often drive by the Research House in the Silverlake area, as well as the other houses on Neutra Place nearby. It’s a constant reminder of the extraordinary legacy of residential design in Los Angeles.

Written by Frank Lloyd

November 19, 2009 at 10:55 pm