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Fu-Tung Cheng

Arts & Crafts Architecture

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The Arts and Crafts movement was centered in the English speaking world in the late 19th to the early 20th century, and sought to revive the decorative, hand crafted arts which were threatened by mass production and industrialization. In the U.S., the Arts and Crafts movement influenced American architects from Frank Lloyd Wright, George Washington Maher, and Julia Morgan to Bernard Maybeck. Their style is often called American Craftsman or Craftsman Style. Maybeck’s buildings are known for exposed ceiling beams with Swiss carvings, patented, two-hole Venturi chimneys, and built-in window…

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Prairie Style and Frank Lloyd Wright

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The Prairie Style was developed in Chicago, Illinois around the turn of the 20th Century by architects including Frank Lloyd Wright who wanted to create a distinctively American style in contrast to the Victorian style popular across the Western Europe and America at the time. It is characterized by horizontal lines that evoke the flat, treeless landscape of the American Midwest, with low slope roofs and deep, overhanging eaves, chimneys placed in the center of the house and open floor plans. Evolving from the Arts and Crafts movement, architects incorporated…

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Carlo Scarpa

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Carlo Scarpa has been called a “stealth modernist.” He broke with the mainstream Modernists by refusing a total break with the past in favor of an approach that venerated and transformed it into style distinctively 20th century, but recognizably Venetian. His impact on architects around the world and particularly in America is well noted. American architect Philip Johnson once observed that Scarpa could “make poetry out of the smallest rod or piece of stone.” Scarpa was known for merging artisanal methods with modern production. His passion for Japanese details translated…

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Craftsman Bungalow

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The Arts & Crafts movement in California made its impact on American architecture by adopting elements of eastern architecture to meet western needs. The architectural firm Greene and Greene, founded by the brother Charles and Henry Greene in 1894, pioneered the American Craftsman Bungalow movement which became popular across the U.S. in the 1930s. They were deeply inspired by the Japanese Ho-o-Den exhibit at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The brothers incorporated the Arts & Crafts movement’s philosophy of using materials derived from and indicative of natural materials, while…

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Desert Modernism

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Palm Springs has been called “God’s waiting room,” and George Wharton James, its first historian, said in Palm Springs, “it is easy to forget the activity of American life, and all association with the occidental world, and imagine oneself in the heart of the Sahara.” It was to this desert retreat, one hundred miles east from Los Angeles, that visionary Modernist architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra came to build a monument in the desert. The structures they built — Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House, Twin Palms…

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Eichler Homes

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Eichler homes brought mid-century modern design to the masses through tract houses constructed in postwar residential subdivisions in California, north and south. The modest, affordable houses were known for flat or low sloping roofs, open plans, and for “bringing the outside in.” Eichler homes’ front-to-back planning featured small windows facing the street, and large windows facing the backyard that put the emphasis of the owners’ lived experience in an American-style interior courtyard, an amenity formerly reserved for the rich. Vertical wood paneling, gabled ceilings and floor-to-ceiling, glazed walls combined with…

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Gaudi

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Antoni Gaudi’s work escapes classification. Critics described his early work as “florid Victorianism” and his later work as “surrealistic hallucinations.” The focus of Gaudí’s work is movement; there is a constant flow through his designs, and nature informs many of his decorative motifs. Consequently, many of his iconic works featured curved interior and exterior elements. Gaudí was influenced by neo-gothic architecture and built upon this by designing structures with large curved windows and curved balconies. Some of his works, including the Casa Mila apartment building, use curved lines exclusively and…

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Mies van der Rohe

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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is one of the most well known architects of the 20th century to be shaped by and to shape the Modernist tradition. Through the Deutscher Werkbund, Mies met and worked with other young architects who would become famous Modernists: Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier. This generation of young German designers was deeply influenced by the collapse of the old European order at the end of World War I and developed a style that rejected all the old truisms of architecture in favor of a radically…

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Ranch Style House

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Clifford “Cliff” May was touted in the New York Times in the mid-1980s as “the man behind the ranch house.” May, who grew up in San Diego, made furniture in his 20s and never got a formal degree in architecture, built what historians recognize at the first ranch-style house in 1931. ”I rebelled against the boxy houses being built then,” said May. ”The ranch house was everything a California house should be – it had cross-ventilation, the floor was level with the ground, and with its courtyard and the exterior…

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Space Architecture

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Rudolph Schindler, an Austrian born American architect, pioneered his own style of modern home designs on the West Coast and coined the term “Space Architecture.” His goal was to control “space, climate, light, and mood.” Schindler was a student and employee of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose revolutionary architecture was both instantly modern and distinctively American. He took Wright’s ideas about form and shape further, however, and developed a style that put the spaces we inhabit first, rather than seeing them as a byproduct of the forms that constitute a house….

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