Back to School Part 3: Cranbrook Academy of Art

Sometimes called the “Cradle of American Modernism,” the Cranbrook Academy of Art boasts such prestigious alumni as Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Florence Knoll, Charles Eames, and Ray Eames.

The Academy of Art was founded by George Gough Booth and Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen in 1932. From the beginning, the foundation was built using the latest ideals in art and architecture. Eliel Saarinen’s Brookside School Cranbrook, Institute of Science, Academy Art Museum, and Library buildings are still in use today and remain the most complete examples of the celebrated architect’s work.

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 Cranbrook Art Academy, Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives.

Some say the seeds for American Modernism were born at Cranbrook, since some of the key innovators of the movement met while studying and teaching there. It was at Cranbrook that Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames began their long and fruitful friendship, and it was also here that a student named Ray Kaiser fell madly in love with her industrial design professor. Cranbrook is where Harry Bertoia learned to work with wire and metal, and the place that Florence Knoll studied furniture design. The list goes on.

Below we feature some of the artists and works that were born from the rich artistic community of the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

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Interior of the Saarinen House on the Cranbrook campus, designed by Eliel Saarinen in the early 1920s. Photo courtesy of Cranbrook Archives.

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Eliel and Loja Saarinen’s home studio, designed by Eliel Saarinen. Photo courtesy of Dula Notes.

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Prototype tea urn by Eliel Saarinen, 1934. Photo courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Cranbrook Tower and Quadrangle, designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1927, Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives.

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Florence Knoll with Eero Saarinen at Cranbrook in 1947. Photo courtesy of Cranbrook Archives.

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Jewelry designed by Harry Bertoia during his time at Cranbrook, early 1940s. Photo courtesy of Scoop on Design.

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Jewelry designed by Harry Bertoia during his time at Cranbrook, early 1940s. Photo courtesy of Scoop on Design.

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David B. Runnells with Eero and Eliel Saarinen on the Steps of Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1941. Photo by Charles Eames.

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Eliel Saarinen with Le Corbusier on Academy Way. Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives.

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The Orpheus Fountain by Carl Milles, 1936. Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives.

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Architecture sketch by Charles Eames for the Case Study House Program, 1941. Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives.

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Organic Armchair, a collaboration of Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen for the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” design competition at the Museum of Modern Art. 1940. Photo courtesy of the Vitra Design Museum.

Happy Birthday to Mr. Rodney Walker

Responsible for designing over 100 homes in Southern California between 1935 and 1970, Mr. Rodney Walker is synonymous with the ideals and legacy of the Case Study House Program.

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Rodney Walker and family, sitting outside a home of his own design, 1956. Photo courtesy of the Society of Architectural Historians.

After working under celebrated architect Rudolph Schindler for a number of years, Walker set out to build his own legacy in the early 1940s. His designs for the Case Study House Program were exceptional, and he was known for building modern homes at an attractive price point. Today we look back at some of his most acclaimed works and celebrate one of Los Angeles’s greats.

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Case Study House #16 by Rodney Walker, 1947. Photo courtesy of Retro Pop Planet. 

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Case Study House #16 by Rodney Walker, 1947. Photo courtesy of Arts and Architecture Magazine.

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The Walker Residence, 1959. Photo courtesy of Curbed LA.

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The Walker Residence, 1959. Photo courtesy of Curbed LA.

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This 1947 home in Brentwood was once the personal residence of A. Quincy Jones. Photo courtesy of Curbed LA.

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Case Study House #18 by Rodney Walker, 1948. Photo courtesy of Arts and Architecture Magazine.

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The Walker Residence, 1959. Photo courtesy of Curbed LA.

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The Walker Residence, 1959. Photo courtesy of Curbed LA.

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This 1947 home in Brentwood was once the personal residence of A. Quincy Jones. Photo courtesy of Curbed LA.

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Case Study House #16 by Rodney Walker, 1947. Photo courtesy of Arts and Architecture Magazine.

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Fulton Residence, 1948. Photo by Julius Shulman.

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Case Study House #16 by Rodney Walker, 1947. Photo courtesy of Arts and Architecture Magazine.

Back to School Part 2: Staatliches Bauhaus

Staatliches Bauhaus commenced in 1919 with the Proclamation of the Bauhaus, written by legendary German architect Walter Gropius. It described a utopian craft guild combining architecture, sculpture, and painting into a single creative expression. Gropius developed a craft-based curriculum that would turn out artisans and designers capable of creating useful and beautiful objects appropriate to this new system of living.

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The Proclamation of the Bauhaus. Photo courtesy of Harvard Art Museums.

The Proclamation was realized in Weimar, Germany with an educational and craft center that pursued modern principles of color theory, visual relationships, and the study of materials. Other classes included metalworking, cabinetmaking, weaving, pottery, typography, and wall painting.

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The Bauhaus Dessau, designed by Walter Gropius in 1926. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

In 1933, Gestapo closed down the program, labeling their modernist ideals “un-German”, but the work was timeless. The art, architecture, furniture, and products that were produced by Bauhaus students and their teachers revolutionized design practices throughout the world. Their influence lives on today in art, architecture, and furniture design.

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A few of the famed Bauhaus instructors. Photo courtesy of Arh346.

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Bauhaus Stairway by Oskar Schlemmer, 1932. Photo courtesy of MOMA.

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Furniture from Marcel Breuer’s time at Bauhaus, taken at exhibition “Design and Architecture” at Bauhaus Dessau. Photo courtesy of Minimum Blog.

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Black Circle by Wassily Kandinsky, 1924. Photo courtesy of USC.

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Bauhaus Poster by Joost Schmidt, 1923. Photo courtesy of Shanth Enjeti.

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Various chair designs from Bauhaus. Photo courtesy of Midcentury Home.

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Armchair LC1 by Le Corbusier, 1929. Photo courtesy of Desmol Shop.

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Kornhaus Restaurant by Carl Fieger, 1930. Photo courtesy of Bauhaus Online.

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Moholy-Nagy Residence by Walter Gropius, 1925. Photo courtesy of Archdaily.

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Teapot by Marianne Brandt, 1924. Photo courtesy of the Met Museum.

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Transverse Line by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923. Photo courtesy of WassilyKandinsky.net.

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The Bauhaus Archiv was designed in 1964 by Walter Gropius to serve as a permanent exhibition and memorial to the work of Staatliches Bauhaus. Photo courtesy of Berlin.de.

Get Your Home Tour Fix This Fall

Home tour season is upon us! From Southern California right on up to Vancouver, there are home tours popping up everywhere in the coming months.  Below are a few that are open for reservations; find out more or buy tickets here.

Modern Homes of San Diego: September 27 11:00a – 5:00p

Modern Homes in San Diego

Modernica Easy Chair San Diego Home Tour 2014 SD Home Tour copy

Houston Modern Home Tour: September 20 11:00a – 5:00p

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Santa Fe Modern Homes: October 18 11:00a – 5:00p

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Vancouver 2014 Modern Home Tour: September 20 11:00a – 5:00p

Vancouver garden Vancouver Home Tour Vancouver Home Tours 2014 Vancouver Modern House

An Ode to the Frankenhouse

One’s first reaction to the phrase “camper addition to the main house” may not be entirely positive, but this trend on the renovation front can be surprisingly brilliant. Sometimes, when owners of traditional homes feel the need to go modern, buying a new house is just not in the cards.  The answer? Quirky modern additions, such as modular pre-fab boxes or vintage airstream trailers! Check out the “frankenhouses” below and tell us what you think, yay or nay?

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Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

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Photo source: Treeinggear.com.

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Photo courtesy of Houzz. modern-addition-to-old-farmhouse

Photo courtesy of Houzz.

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Photo courtesy of Dwell.

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Photo courtesy of Trendir.

Silver Airstream Addition

Marcel Breuer’s Wolfson Trailer House – photo courtesy of @stefanboublil on Flickr.

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Photo courtesy of Dwell.

Traditional Home Modern Additions

Photo courtesy of Curbed.

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Photo courtesy of Dwell.

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Photo courtesy of Dwell.

By |September 9th, 2014|architecture|1 Comment