Pop up gallery in New Canaan – posters and custom subway signs

This weekend, when you come to town to attend New Canaan Preservation Alliance's presentation, “Preservation and Progress: A Sensitive Approach to Repurposing Modern Houses” at New Canaan Library, or any time for the next several weeks, stop by 34-36 Elm Street, the space most recently occupied by Plaza, Too shoes.

There you fill find an eye-full of (very large) Posters for on for sale by Samuel Owen Gallery. The posters are vintage, and some are by contemporary and near-contemporary artists. They are just the thing for large, bare, Modern walls.

Samuel Owen Gallery's permanent location is at the Antique and Artisan Center, 69 Jefferson Street
Stamford, CT.

An ancillary business, Poster Conservation, provides museum quality linen backing and advanced restoration services to art galleries, auction houses, poster dealers, and collectors from around the world.

Sharing the space is Underground Signs, which creates customized subway signs in the New York City subway transit system style. The look of the signs is exactly as originally designed in 1966 by Bob Noorda and Massimo Vignelli, using Helvetica, the same colors for the train lines, and they are produced on 8-guage aluminum base, same as the MTA uses.

Underground Signs doesn't seem to have a physical home, which is one reason this pop up is so great – you can meet their products in person.

Nice to see all that crisp color and fun design on Elm Street. – GF

At the Franzen House – a benefit event for DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State

The Franzen House
Rye, New York

Saturday, May 8, 2010
5:30 PM to 8:00 PM

Meet at the Franzen House to toast spring with a martini, watch the sunset, celebrate Modern architecture and its restoration, and at the same time support the ongoing activities of DOCOMOMO New/York Tri-State. Remarks by Christian Bjone, author of First House: The Grid, the Figure and the Void.

Tickets are $100 and include martinis and more, hearty hors d’oeuvres, van shuttle service from the Rye Metro-North Station and a tax-deductible contribution to DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State. Space is limited.

In 1954, architect Ulrich Franzen spent several months thinking about a house that would complement the lifestyle of his young family. In 1955 he built that house. A year later it was named Architectural Record House of the Year. In 2002, the house was saved from demolition by the current owners who are undertaking a respectful restoration.

Franzen, a 1948 graduate of Harvard’s GSD under Gropius and Breuer, set his house on a podium amid the rock outcroppings of the site. Its structural skeleton—a three-hinged welded arch truss system supported by eight steel columns—was expressed as the defining feature. Load bearing walls were completely absent. The open plan living area was enclosed in glass and bisected by a ribbon of natural light from a narrow skylight extending the length of the roof’s center hinge. Modern art was displayed on lightweight, movable partitions.

Record editors thought the Franzen House held “the promise of adding enrichment and authenticity to our national architecture.” Others simply noted that the spacious covered terraces under the outermost angles of the “double diamonds” made great entertaining spaces.

Transportation details: Rye, NY is 44 minutes from Manhattan via Metro-North. A shuttle van will meet four incoming trains (5:21, 5:54, 6:21, 6:54) to make the short (1.3 mi) drive to the house and deliver to four departing trains (6:46, 7:19, 7:46, 8:19). The Metro-North fare is $15 RT. Those driving can park at the Rye Station and the shuttle will make pick ups as needed.
Note: there is no parking at the house. – GF

(Hard to imagine, but I couldn't find a better photo – or ANY OTHER photo – of this house to post!

Holiday home in Spain by Anton García-Abril

I'm not even going to try to explain this little house – you just have to go see for yourself at Dezeen. All I can say is I'd moooo for joy to live in it for a summer.  – GF

(Ensamble Studio)

Bringing in the light – timeless window design

The E Haus by Hertl.Architekten in Austria employs the time-honored method of expanding the exterior opening of a window to pull in the most natural light through the smallest penetration in order to maximize interior light and minimize heat loss. Great ideas never die, and this one just looks so great! – GF

Symposium: Preservation meets sustainability

The University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program is running a day-long symposium exploring the preservation of historic modernist buildings and how to rehabilitate them to be sustainable and functional in the 21st century. 
Keynote Speaker: 
Christine Madrid French
Director, Modernism + Recent Past Program
National Trust for Historic Preservation

Featured Speakers:
Professor Glenn Andres
History of Art and Architecture Department
Middlebury College

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP
Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust, Stewardship of Historic Sites
National Trust for Historic Preservation

Mike Jackson, FAIA
Chief Architect, Preservation Services
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

James A. Jacobs
, Ph.D.
Historian, National Historic Landmarks Program
National Park Service

David N. Fixler, FAIA, LEED AP
Principal, Design and Preservation
Einhorn, Yaffee Prescott
Architecture & Engineering P.C.

Theodore H.M. Prudon, PhD, FAIA
Prudon & Partners LLP
Author of the book, Preservation of Modern Architecture
Registration Fee: $100
For more information click here for a PDF.
Register online: www.uvm.edu/~modern
– GF

From New Zealand, a nice sensibility

Belinda George Architects' residential projects have the comfortable, non-grandiose proportions I love about old MCM homes, while wholeheartedly bringing the outside in and respecting today's demand for sustainability. That NZ climate must be close to perfect. . . – GF

(these pix are not all of the same house)

New Canaan Preservation Alliance lecture

New Canaan Preservation Alliance's mission is "to establish as a community priority the preservation of New Canaan’s character-defining historic architectural and natural environments". So along with helping to protect viewsheds, stone walls and adorable little antique houses in town, they also do their part to raise awareness, and thus help protect from tear-down, the town's many Moderns. They have organized a Spring Lecture Series, and coming up on May 2 is “Preservation and Progress: A Sensitive Approach to Repurposing Modern Houses”, presented by Craig Bassam and Scott Fellows.

Craig Bassam and Scott Fellows, proprietors of the New York City design firm BassamFellows, own the Hodgson House in New Canaan, which was designed in phases by Philip Johnson with Landis Gores, (acting as associate), from 1950 to 1957. This National Registered property is protected by easements administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, guardians of the Glass House across the street. Bassam and Fellows will relate their adventures “gently” renovating their Modern residences, from New Canaan to Palm Springs to Lugano, Switzerland with an illustrated talk, followed by a questions and answer period and refreshments.

Austrian-born Craig Bassam is an architect, an interior designer, a furniture designer and a product designer. In 1988, when he graduated from the University of Sydney, he “was inspired by the classical principles of early Modernism – beauty, proportion, material, craftsmanship, and detail.” In 2003, Bassam partnered with Scott Fellows with the mission – to return true craftsmanship and beauty to contemporary living. A graduate of Carnegie-Mellon, with an MBA from Harvard, Fellows has created strategic visions and led product development for some of the world’s best brands from Avon, Owens Corning, to Ferragamo, Bally, and Edward Fields.

I'm not sure what is meant in the lecture's title by the word "repurposing". I mean, the houses were built as houses, and renovated to honor the original design integrity – but they're still houses, right? I guess I'll have to go to the lecture to find out! – GF

Top: Mills house, bottom: Hodgson house, both owned by Craig Bassam and Scott Fellows 

I'd like to link to bassamfellows.com because there are/were beautiful products and interiors that they've designed and photos of their houses, but it seems to be password-protected. So Google it and you'll get an idea of the fine projects they're involved in from other sources. Scott Fellows just emailed me to say that their website was having a problem earlier today but it has since been fixed, so do go to bassamfellows.com and enjoy.

Preservation and Progress: A Sensitive Approach to Repurposing Modern Houses
Sunday May 2, 2010 at 4 PM at the New Canaan Library

A Modhen House . . .

Seen on The Coolist: Amazing Hen House by Frederik Roije ". . . truly an architectural wonder of the fowl world. It is a tiered, stilted and complex home for hens, a design so progressive that we wouldn’t mind the life of a hen if this was our resting place. While the hens themselves may not understand the beauty of this modern abode, sometimes the appreciation is more about the owner than the occupant."

Some of the comments on this post over at The Coolist point out that it doesn't appear to be particularly poultry-friendly – chickens need warmth in winter (the boxes have so many exposed sides), ventilation (I can't see any openings from these photos – wait – there's one grid on top of one of the 'rooms', it seems), and a clean home (rather too many levels and small rooms to have to muck-out). But, what can you tell from photos? Maybe those considerations have been taken care of and tested out. What you can tell is that it looks like a pretty nifty get-away at a very small scale. – GF
(orig. via mocoloco)

A sweet transformation

Kamil Mrva Architects Architectural studio in Czech Republic was commissioned to reconstruct a home / studio in Kojetín near Nového Jičína (why, of course!) from a former 1862 barn. While this is basically a one-room space for living and working, a family house nearby is planned for the future. The sleeping / WC area is behind the mod curtain divider.

I love the proportions of this little house, the materials, its situation overlooking a valley, and the way it reminds me of the cozy feeling I have for Philip Johnson's Glass House. – GF

Via CoolBoom

From the library

I have been enjoying Terence Conran's Eco House Book not so much for the information on ecologically sustainable material choices, various solar strategies, low-E glass and high thermal mass (most of which I'm aware of and would certainly read up on diligently if I were about to renovate or build, which, sadly I am not). I just love the photos and case studies. Lots of fuel for dreaming and the "someday" list. Low-carbon emission fuel at that. – GF