Saturday, April 18, 2009

Eichler homes, Alan Hess, Julius Schulman, etc.

Modern Architecture is now officially historic, and no better proof exists than the tract homes built by developer Joe Eichler in the 1950s. They brought the best of Modern residential design within reach of the average home-buyer. Today, like the Victorian houses a century ago, they are being rediscovered for preservation and restoration. (The photo above shows an Eichler home at 5122 E. Elsinore Ave. in Orange.)
Alan Hess will discuss "Near History: the Eichler Tracts of Orange County," at the May 14, 2009 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society. The meeting will be held at 7:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. I threw together the map below for the OCHS newsletter, in hopes that people would take time before the meeting to explore nearby Eichler neighborhoods.
There is also an Eichler tract in Fullerton, called "Fullerton Grove," but that seemed a bit off the beaten path for this particular event.
I'm promoting this event a little early because, 1) I'm really interested in the subject, 2) I helped organize the program, and 3) Because Alan Hess is part of the reason I'm working in local history today. It was Alan's first book, Googie: Fifties Coffee Shop Architecture, that got be back into photographing and documenting historic architecture -- Something I hadn't done since I first got hooked on local history in high school. Those photo safaris and my resulting website were important early steps on the road to my current job and to this blog.
Alan Hess is an architect, historian, author, and prominent California architecture critic. His books document and interpret neglected mid‑century, popular and Modern architecture. His most recent books are Oscar Niemeyer Buildings, Frank Lloyd Wright: The Buildings, Forgotten Modern: California Houses 1940-1970, and Julius Shulman: Palm Springs. Other books include Googie Redux, Viva Las Vegas, The Architecture of John Lautner, The Ranch House and Palm Springs Weekend.
Hess has been active in the preservation of roadside and post‑War architecture. He qualified a number of buildings for the National Register of Historic Places, including the nation’s oldest McDonald’s (Downey, 1953), Bullock's Pasadena (1947), the 1956 Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, AZ, and the Stuart Pharmaceutical Factory by Edward Durell Stone (1958). He is currently researching the architecture of Irvine.
Also of interest to my fellow Mid-Century Modern fans: The Fullerton Museum is now hosting an exhibit called, "Forever Fullerton: Julius Shulman," featuring 40 works by the most famous photographer of Modern architecture, along with period furniture and decor. In the 1950s and 1960s, Schulman did extensive work in Fullerton documenting houses and other buildings in town. Below is an exhibit poster by Orange County's own Josh "Shag" Agle. (I want a copy for my wall!)


douglas mcintosh said...

I too want/desire a poster. Very cool!

AS said...

For those who can't get out to each of the Eichler tracts in Orange, you can see them (at least the fronts) via Google Steet View on Google Maps.

walterworld said...

Thanks for the good info Chris---

I'll be sure to tour the neighborhoods and make it to the exhibit in Fullerton when I'm in Anaheim June 6-10.

Alan Hess' book really spurred my interest in the Mid-Century Modern as well; I wish I could make it out on May 14 to hear him speak.

What a kick it would be to own one of those homes in Anaheim no less!

Take care---

Kanani said...

I remember playing in homes like this when I was a kid.
These homes were fresh --nothing else like them existed. They were open and lightfilled. The furnishings were modern as well, loads of "Danish" furnishings, and sometimes we'd play on Eames chairs and sofas, eat on tables by Knoll.

A friend just sold the A. Quincy Jones home in the Palisades where he grew up. The price? A cool 1.5 million.