Historian Alan Hess has organized an exhibition showcasing the work of California architect—and Frank Lloyd Wright collaborator—Aaron G. Green at the Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC) in Los Angeles. Green was a close associate of Wright’s and also a prolific and highly-regarded architect in his own right who spent six decades practicing architecture, mainly in the San Francisco area. Educated at the Cooper Union in New York City, Green received his first commission by convincing a couple that had solicited him for the design of a single family home to hire Wright—whom the young designer had never met—instead. Green used the project to become one of Wright’s Taliesin fellows. After serving in World War II and opening his own Los Angeles practice, Green moved to San Francisco, where he opened a joint office with Wright. Green acted as Wright’s West Coast representative until Wright’s death in 1959. Green continued his firm as an individual practice until his own death in 2001. Green’s work is exemplary for its focus on natural and organic forms and stands in contrast to the more staid and rigidly-delineated works of the late modern era, like those of William Pereira or Welton Beckett. In an email to The Architect’s Newspaper, Hess remarked: “The International Style aesthetic of simple glass boxes triumphed in the public relations battle to define modernism. But organic architecture put up a good fight by offering the alternative: richly crafted buildings with complex geometries, married to the land, and rendered in the natural textures and colors of wood, stone, and brick.” Hess added, “Frank Lloyd Wright lead that fight, aided by Aaron Green, John Lautner, Lloyd Wright, and many others. Today we are finally rediscovering this side of modern architecture.” Hess explained further that as many of the seminal works of the era have come under the wrecking ball in recent years, interest in their legacy has soared, writing, “Today we are finally rediscovering this side of modern architecture. This exhibit on Aaron Green… is just the tip of the iceberg in opening up a tremendous catalog of California's wide-ranging midcentury and late modern architectural heritage. We’re losing that heritage rapidly, so we need to understand and defend it.” Hess’s exhibition brings together rare photographs and original architectural renderings and plans from Green’s office. The exhibition also showcases a collection of contemporaneous magazines that promoted Green’s work throughout his career. The exhibition opens January 21, 2017, and will remain on view at PVAC through May 28, 2017. For more information, see the exhibition website.
Posts tagged with "Organic Modernism":
Southern California critic Alan Hess tells us more about Ken Kellogg’s GG’s Island Restaurant (formerly the Chart House), which was ravaged by fire on Tuesday morning. The extent of the damage and the potential for repair have not yet been determined. Palm Springs may be best known for sleek steel and glass Modern architecture, but the 1978 Chart House by San Diego architect Ken Kellogg (one of a series he designed for the restaurant chain) makes it impossible to ignore the fact that Organic Modernism is just as much a part of the Coachella Valley heritage. Set along Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage, Chart House's low-slung, serpentine shape hugs the contours of a small, rocky butte. Outside, it's the image of protective desert shelter: the taut vaulted roof stretches down, like the fabric of an umbrella or the shell of a crab, almost to touch the landscape berms rising to meet it. Inside, however, the heavy timber columns, curving glu-lam roof ribs, and rubble stone walls wind their way through the restaurant like a well-designed forest. They create layers of space, naturally lighted by a skylight curving along the spine, with an appealing complexity. Kellogg's fifty-five year career, including residences, churches, and commercial and institutional buildings, continues to show the vitality of organic design. [Photo credits: Keith Daly / Flickr, Michael Smith / Flickr, Desert Sun screenshot, KESQ screenshot.]