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The Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.56-57 (Jan.-June 1919)) online

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dropped. Instead we find advances in a number of items. Flooring has
gone up — so have panels.

The building boom which was predicted six months ago is now blos-
soming forth. The construction of buildings and manufacture of peace-
time commodities are now in h\\l swing, and there is every evidence that
the stabilizing of business is an accomplished fact. This stability of
business carries with it the stability of prices, and therefore there should
be no hesitation about stepping in and sailing along with the full current
of business which is now flowing in an ever-increasing volume.

Export buyers are at the present time very active in the markets of
the United States and Canada. When it is taken into consideration that
Russia, which before the war supplied over 45% of the lumber used in
the principal markets of Europe, is now entirel}^ out of this business and
will not be a factor for several years to come, it can be readily seen that
the burden placed itpon this country in supplying the European markets
is a serious one. Russia's annual e:j^:port of lumber before the war was
approximately 7,000,000,000 feet. This, in addition to the very large
quantity this coimtry formerly shipped to Europe, must be made up on
this side of the water.

This enormously increased foreign demand is already being felt, and
it has tended to make various items of hardwoods scarce and undoubtedly
it will bring about a decided advance in prices.




The House of Major Peshine at Santa Barbara,
Myron Hunt, Architect


THE first impression of Major Peshine's house is one of a certain inde-
finable classic quality. It has a sumptuous character, though this is
gained by the simplest means. Throughout there is a sureness of
touch in mass and detail that shows the masterly hnnd. A study of the
plan will, no doubt, lead many a practicing architect to exclaim, "What
luck to have a client who would allow one to make such a plan!" and he
will also admire the talent that could make such splendid use of the

The house is sympathetically disposed in relation to the topography of
the site, its long lines following the direction of the contour lines,
and the long mass pushed close up to the neighboring hillside, which
thus protects the inner court, and at the same time, forms a con-
trasting background to the brilliant plaster walls and tile roofs of the

The main portion of the house is built about a cloistered patio ; on
three sides are walls and on the fourth side the steep Avooded hillside.

The principal living rooms are disposed in a one-story wing facing
towards the view and opening on the opposite side on the shady patio.
This wing is capped by a low two-story .wing containing the sleeping
apartments, with its axis at right angles to the axis of the main wing,
thus giving contrast and a pleasing opposition of masses. The group,
composed of these tv/o wings, forms the main body of the building. The
main mass is flanked by two wings on secondary planes, perhaps 40 or 50
feet back of the main facade These wings contain the chapel on one
hand and the service group on the other. The composition thus has
balance, though far from being symmetrical. The detail shows a disdain
for the trivial and a sense of fitness and proportion that only come with
knowledge. The fenestration of the main facade is carefully spotted, with
fine ample openings, and the belt courses give a just dominance to the
lower floor, which is, in fact, the principal story. How many architects
would have dragged in a decorative stairway leading nowhere! Mr.
Hunt has not fallen into such a trap. The stairway to the upper rooms
is rightly subordinated.

The decorative use of wrought iron is characteristic of this house, and
the web-like black lines of the iron and the broad white surfaces of the
stucco give mutual value one to the other. The chapel is pleasing in its
general mass, but I should have liked to see a more Jesuit lavishness in
certain details. Time will envelop the group in mellowing vegetation,
and the charm of the house will groAV with, the years. The old olive
trees, which are abundantly dotted around, form a beautiful nucleus for
future planting.

The interiors are simple and well proportioned, in keeping with the
Latin flavor of the ensemble. The site and climate have been sensitively
understood, and the architecture moulded into a harmony both of mass
and of detail.


Till". .\U("iirri-:c'i" and ['".xgixker


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THE ARcrirjEcr and engineer



'l-lll': AIUIIITKCT AM) i:.\(;i\'EER


Mvron Hunt, Arcliitcct

I'ATio, siio\\i.\(; A.\( iKNi oi.!\i': TkEES Ai'.oi-T wiiKii HIE iKiisi-. HAS !;i;i:\

Myron Hunt, Architect




Myron Hunt, Architect


Lawrence & Holford, Architects





Garden Apartment-Houses of the West*


HERE are certain fabulous things, like
"cloud flowers," "castles in the air" and
fantastic sayings, such as "squaring the
circle" and "weaving a rope of sand," that ar^^,
referred to when one Avishes to speak of an
impossibility, an altogether incredible thing.
Garden apartment houses might be classed by
some people among the fabulous things, were
it not for the fact that some already exist amid
the flower fields of California. In great cities,
apartm.ent houses are sometimes built about a
simple court, planted to the toughest evergreen
trees, and +hese are certainly pleasanter places
in v.hich to live than one of the great struc-
tures without open courts and with no attempts
at a garden. But the apartment house encircled
by a garden, and in turn surrounding a garden
(which we are here presenting) embodies some
of the most profound architectural truths of this age.

These apartments, built in the foothills of the Sierra Afadre mountains,
just back of Pasadena. California, are as simple as human art can con-
struct them. The architect. Air. Irving J. Gill, has proven to this genera-
tion that the primitive symbols of greatness, grandeur and stability, are
as beautiful today as they were ages ago. He feels that there should be
a return to the three great principles of the circle, the straight line and
the square. The circle is the symbol of progression : the square the
strength, and the straight line of infinity.

Man has become so confused by the whirl of life that his sense of the
beautiful and of proportion has become dulled. He, in fact, likes confu-
sion ; he wants his house and grounds filled to overflowing with a mul-
titude of needless things. The only way to teach hira the error of his
ways is to swing the pendulum far (:o the other extreme. Mr. Gill has
done this service for architects, for he builds
his houses absolutely without the customary
restless ornamentation. It has taken courage
to defy accepted taste ; but, though a few
people at first gaze in horror at the stark
sim.plicity of his houses, after passing them for
a few times they come to like them and find
that they make all other houses look cheap and
insignificant by comparison. They have the
bold dignity of one of nature's creations, be-
ing absolutely free from all decorations save
those w^oven across them by this master ar-

Although these apartment houses are so
severely simple, for some reason they fairly
breathe rom.ance. Each little apartment shoul-
ders its neighbor and, circling together, they
enclose a large garden, the central feature of
which is a pergola covered with flowering

* Some years ago Mr. Gill's unique apartments were illustrated in this magazine. At that time
the buildings were new and the gardens had just been planted. The then bare walls are now
literally covered with vines while the gardens are a mass of wonderful foliage and radiant blooms.
The pictures and story are published by courtesy of Touchstone, formerly The Craftsman.


vines. The .'iiJartiiients are built of concrete; arc fireproof; the doors anfl
-.vindows are set in metal frames and there are no casings or caps or
projections of any kind itiside the rooms that can show a crack or cre-
vice in which dirt or (hist could Uxlge. l^.aseboards and walls are of con-
crete and are cur-ed together with the concrete floor. There are no square
joints in the house. The I>ath tubs and sinks are sunk in magnesite and
form one CDUtinuous ])iece with the walls and floor, t'lus ])reventing an
accunudatii)u of dirt and grease. 'J'he firc])laccs are indented and raised
slightly from the Hoor.

.\I1 sense of coldness which might arise from so severely simple a
treatment is obviated by the peculiar treatment of the walls and the dull
pinkish-red given the concrete floors. The floors are treated with an oil
stain and wa.xed. The walls are tinted a soft gray and given a surface
finish (a secret of Mr. Gill's) which causes them to reflect the colors of
the furnishings of each room and to echo the tenderest glory of the sky
and the ])rilliant colors of the garden. The rooms, therefore, glow with
color that cannot be compared to anything save that of an opal. Changing
constantly with the mood of nature, they are never monotoncms and never
inharmonious. Their classic simplicity gives a sense of rest, peace and

Although the houses are little more than cubes, they are set together
in such a nay that they do not offend the eye. and their square towers
cut into the blue sky of California with picturesque severity. The handling
of windmv and door spaces are particularly happy, for they are varied by
a sr;uare or a circle placed where each will give the most telling effect.
Each cottage is entered through a loggia that serves as a lounging room
by day and a sleeping porch by night Each cottage faces the ;^^arden and
has a garden ])lot of its own, leading to the central pergola where all the
tenants assemble. This ])ergola is constructed of concrete pillars and eu-
calyptus beams. It is thirty-seven feet square and is furnished with rustic
tables and chairs, and overhung with luxuriant vines such as only Cali-
fornia can i)roduce. The little creeper, iiciis ripens, has been depended
ui)on to grace the doorways, and no ornament made by man can equal
in delicac} or grace the decorative effect that it creates.

In ar'ditiou to the aesthetic success of this severely simple apartment
house it comes as near to permanent construction as it is possible for man-
kind to attain. The .Sierra Madre Garden Apartment Houses have proven
so satisfactory that the experiment has been twice repeated by Mr. Gill
in San Diego. Df course, the designs are very different, but the spirit is
the same. Each apartment is entered through a garden and has a garden
of its f)\vn. The arch has been called upon to relieve the severity of the
cube. .All ornamentation 1k:s been left to the gracious skill of vine and

The buildings are of concrete, and steel and whoever passes the
chastely simple dwelling houses cannot but feel that any deviation from
their architectural simplicity would result in a loss of dignity.

Mr. (iill depends for his effects upon the beatity of straight lines; the
force of light and shade; the power of balanced masses and the fascinat-
ing i)lay of color as it j-asses before the plain background of concrete

Honesty, frankness and sini])licitv characterize the exterior of these
houses; comfort and loveliness ])ervade the interior. .Mr. (iill designs his
houses from the center of the street to the heart of the house; that is.
he directs the planting of the street trees, the laying out of the gardens and



Till". AkClilTEC'l AND 1-:X(.I N KKR

Irving J. Gill, Architect

Irving J. Gill, Arciiitcct



Irving J. Gill, Architect

the position of the flowers in the garden. Although he beHeves in ab-
solute severity of walls, he also loves the rioting beauty of flowers. He
takes pleasure in seeing all the colors of the rainbow flashing like a dream
against the peculiar surface of his houses. Every flower thus creates a
double beauty — that of its own life and its mirrored reflection on the

During the last few years we have learned that living is a far pleas-
anter art when it is shorn of the myriad complications that are non-es-
sential. Now that it is possible for us to relax our vigilance in the mat-
ter of thrift we find that we are more wise aVjout the spending of our
money. We will always spend liberally, but in the future our generosity
will be wise rather than foolish.

Ruskin has told us that we should put the money spent in needless
ornament into the foundation of the house. We who are interested in
making America a land of beautiful homes cannot but feel that if useless
ornaments were discarded there would be funds enough for lovely gar-
dens. And is there any human being who would not rather have a grow-
ing vine than a mosaic, or a living rose than its sculptored counter-
part ?

Apartment houses such as Mr. Gill has designed in the West insist
upon being surrounded and filled with a garden. The superintendent of
such apartment houses must also be a gardener. He must know how to
mow a lawn as well as feed the furnace. Whatever we demand, we get.
The fault lies in the liinitation of our demands. If we insist upon gar-
dens (even for apartment houses), we shall have them.


These ])hotogra|)lis of ai).'irtnients now established in the West ad-
vance our ideals. Trnly. there are scrni(.ns in stones and also in severely
siniple ajjartment houses, substantially l>uilt and inse])arablc from a

* *

The Merit and Fate of California Architecture

THM architectural niaj^^azines of the East are including nnjre and m(jre
among illustrations the best work produced on the Pacific Coast. It
is true that in Eastern. Middle Western, or even the Southern States,
most of the California work is not capable of reproduction or even' of
healthy adaptation. In consequence, the puldication of the examples will
not help architects in those parts as models for their own work, yet the charm
and exotic effects of the Sunny California work is irresistible in its suggestive
(|uality. W here it is lacking in material for actual ser\'ice as a model it
should furnish to those who understand its intention an inspiration which
will extend into work of a radically different school.

California work, particularly in residences of the higher class, around
Santa Barbara. Los Angeles or San Erancisco, inevitably leaves the
impression, the feeling of freedom, the liberation of one's traditional fetters,
which an exhibition of no other architectural style in America can do.

It has that intangible as])ect that can be felt only through the senses,
called "charm. ■■ Added to this is the quality of the light in which it is
photographed, the light that has compelled the attention of camera men
ever>-where. There is a consistency in the architectural style of Califor-
nia's best residence work, and truth to its locale in every way. And
surprising is the fact that its best and truest lovers are Easterners all —
Myron Hunt. Willis Polk, Bertram Goodhue. Louis Christian MuUgardt
and Arthur B. Benton — to name a few whose work si)arkles like gems —
works that help to restore in the jaded architectural critic again a high
understanding of architecture's capacity: works that redeem architecture
against all its sinners and their sins; works that inspire the renewed faith
in the art and its necessity to the human race.

Seen both in its reality and in its picturing, it reminds one again
through its similarity of climate and light of the Avork of other sunny
countries and of other times- -Spain and Italy and Greece. Eor it seems
that only under such suns does architecture reach fullest over and beyond
the intellectual appeal, to give forth a call to that truest of all standards,
the human feelings. Gothic, in its austere, intellectual beauty, was never
so universal, so far-reaching and so linman in its ap])eal. It is great
architecture, Init does not reach the human heart as does the architecture
of the sunny countries; and so, of all American architecture, that which
stirs the emotions deepest and raises one farthest out of one's self, even
though it be for a fleeting moment, is the architecture of California in its
highest exemplification. May the work of these artists in stucco be more
lasting than their actual buildings'

* * * * :i: * * * * 2-; :^ :): *

And yet though these productions have no lasting cpiality in a purely
monumental way, their suggestive charm, the magic haze that we see them
through, extends their influence in an indirect manner into other climes.
There they may not. it is true, be copied, or even adapted, and thus as
architectural examples have not any power of reproduction or transfer-
ence; and so may only serve as inspirations for better work, tiirough the


emotion of pure beauty and loveliness they generate in those who behold
them in their original form.

All native architectures possess to some degree this quality of exotic-
ism, but with California's best architecture this exotic quality is rarer
because developed in conditions of isolation and climate — a unique com-
bination of the light of a certain latitude com.bined with the temperature
of another, and at a distance from the rest of the world which permitted
the freedom of initiation which goes with absence of dogmatic precedent,
plus that greatest of all stimulants to the development of art — wealth.

This is both the merit and the fate of the best California architecture
— that it is so fitting amidst its own conditions as to appeal to the most
delicate sensibilities by its beauty; but again, just because it is so much
a native growth it cannot be transplanted under other conditions. Its
joyousness may inspire like joyousness, but cannot be built into structures
elsewhere, though they may be copied line for line. Nothing tangible can
be taken out of the architecture of California. — Building Review, New


r> ELATIVE to the interesting article published in the Building- Review of
l\ New Orleans, it is perhaps somewhat of a surprise to be told from the
outside that California has an Architectural style of its own. To some
of us it seems as if certain parts of our beautiful State had been littered with
a type of bungalows sadly suggestive of the dolorific strains produced by an
old-time organ grinder, because the one is as nearly painful to look at as the
other is to listen to.

It would seem quite right to state, as has been said, that similar work to
that of our best type of California architecture could not be equall}^ attractive
elsewhere. California's good architecture must appeal to the senses largely
because of its appropriateness to climatic conditions and its inherent qualities,
reminiscent of sunny climate and early histor}^ which truly belongs to Cali-
fornia. I agree with the writer of the Building Review of New Orleans that
it would be impossible to satisfactoril}^ transplant California architecture to
other states of the Union. This acknowledgment, I consider, applies in a
similar manner to most architecture and places. New England Colonial archi-
tecture, for instance, does not appear at home in California.

It will be remembered that Europe is subdivided into many units, each of
which has its particular style or styles, customs and traditions. America is
similarly divided, and in a large degree has varying customs and traditions
as is true of Europe. I consider that such varying customs and traditions
as do exist should be permitted to influence the development of that or those
styles of architecture which seem most appropriate and native to each section.
It is in a sense imperative that architecture be developed traditionally as the
best in architecture is art and all art is largely and properly based on
sentiment. L. C. Mullgardt, F. A. I. A.

No Need to Worry About the Future

BUILDING all over the country is behind about three billion dollars.
We curtailed our buying about eight billion dollars a year to spend
the money to get the Kaiser. After having shelved the Kaiser, the
country has to work to fill the empty shelves of the stores.

The Old World will have to buy about seven billions' worth of our
materials a year, at least for two years. South America needs two billions
a year. Yet, there are people among us who worry about the future.

80 llll'^ AlUIHTliC'J" AXD i:.\(,IXKKI<

Suggestions for Local Own-Your-Own-Home


AMI'-KlCA iK'cds li(»!ncs. X'arious authorities estimate the dwelling
shortage in the I'nited Stales at from tive hiimlrcd thousand to one

To huild a home is to su]>ply that which meets a pressing need. If a
city is so fortunate as to have adequate dwelling facilities obviously it
would he in-.])rudent to go in for an Own-Your-(Jwn-IIome campaign.
Such cities are few. The vast majority of cities come out of the war
ilmost a year behind in their home building. The r)wn-Your-Own-Home
cam])aign. therefore, i-^ fundamer.tally sound because it meets a pressing

America needs an immediate revival of nnmial business, liuilding is
a basic industry. The construction of a house creates a diversitied
demand for materials. It tends to stimulate business, from ditch digging
to banking. Wherever a house is built there is a stimulus for business,
so the material benefits from home-building acti\ity are scattered over
the entire country.

America needs an immediate augmenting of it.- ca])acity to absorb
labor. lUiilding and its correlated industries offer a logical field for pro-
viding bniTer emi)loyment for labor while the country's industrial and
commercial organization is making the transition from war mobilization
to peace ])roduction. A home-building campaign (|uickens the labor
market in the community where the home is built : it ])rovides a commu-
nity insurance against the socird ills which iii variably follow in the wake-
of unemployment.

Here are the three realities of a situation now confronting our cities
and the nation. ( )n these three realities which have an immediate bearing
on our material welfare, even on our social i^rogress and national sta-
bility, rests a superstructure of incalcidable s])iritual benefits j)rt)foundly
desirable at this period in the nation s history.

The hard-headed, far-seeing business man will agree that artificial
stimulation of business always brings such a reaction as justifies grave
doubts as to the soundness of such a policy. He will see. too, that here
is a pnjposition. sane and business-^ike, sound in its economic phases,
because (1) there is a real demand for that which it is proposed to build.
(2) building is a Jiatural stimulus for business and commerce now halt-
ing and hohling back, and (3) the more immediate the resumption of
business and commerce the sooner the unemployment menace, with its
unrest and incipient disorder, will fade before such demands for labor as will
be incidental to an era of unprecedented prosperity and industrial activity.

(Government sui)ervision and direction, extended through the countrv
in almost every activity to serve the exigencies and necessities of war.
has been withdrawn. Individtial and corporate initiative must .igain be
the ])rcsiding genius in our ]irogress. For tliis initiati\e to be timid and
hesitate is to invite very serious embarrassments. Professor Irving

Online LibraryGreensboro CollegeThe Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.56-57 (Jan.-June 1919)) → online text (page 75 of 83)