Possible New Life for Julia Morgan’s Pasadena YWCA

Very interesting news has come to us via Pasadena Weekly. California architect, Julia Morgan’s 1921 YWCA Building in Pasadena, CA is under consideration for adaptive reuse. According to the article on the Pasadena Weekly Web site, “[T]he Pasadena City Council reviewed development plans for the long-vacant YWCA building, which is expected to be converted into a boutique hotel.”

The structure, vacant since 1997, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Read the article on Pasadena Weekly.

Read more on architect Julia Morgan.

Julia MorganJulia Morgan, Pasadena YWCA Building (1921). Photographer unknown.


Art Deco Buildings in Greenbelt, Maryland

Our friend David Thompson of the Art Deco Buildings blog shared some terrific photos of his trip to Greenbelt, Maryland earlier this year. According to Thompson:

In 1936, Greenbelt … was built in Maryland between Washington DC and Baltimore. It was a bold experiment in co-operative living with all the town’s businesses and even the newspaper co-cooperatively owned by the residents. The homogeneous houses and flats where built around a city center that included shops, a theater and an elementary school.

Read more about Greenbelt, Maryland on Art Deco Buildings, and also read Thompson’s post on The Greenbelt Community Center.

For more on the community of Greenbelt, Maryland visit the city’s Web site.

Greenbelt, Maryland
Greenbelt Theatre and Supermarket, Greenbelt, Maryland (1937).

Silly Saturday: How Architects Sleep

Design and Desire found this image on Katie Umenthum's Architecture Humor Pinterest Board, which is a send-off of the universal communication symbols. Notice how architects sleep - if they get the opportunity - at the bottom of the graphic.

Visit Katie’s Pinterest Board for more humorous and unusual images.


Unknown Artist. How Architects Sleep.

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal at MOMA

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City is currently running Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal, an exhibition that explores the architect’s philosophy regarding the development of the American City during the period between the two World Wars. Wright’s iconic large-scale model for “Broadacre City" is the centerpiece of the show, which features drawings, architectural models and films that were included in the recent joint acquisition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s extensive archive by MoMA and Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library.

For details visit MoMA’s web site. The show runs now through June 1, 2014.


Frank Lloyd Wright. Drawings for Broadacre City Project, (1932).

Silly Saturday: Atomic City

A huge thank you goes out to our friend, Mid-century Modern Freak for turning us on to Hollywood visual effect artist Markus Rothkranz's Atomic City. Part Jetsons, part Rat Pack, part James Bond the show is like nothing you’ve seen on television! A spoof of a sixties style secret agent thriller, the show features all the futuristic designs that mid-century architects and designers dreamed of for our use in 2014.

Since Atomic City really defies any description we could hope to give it, you’ll just have to check it out yourself!

Atomic City
Markus Rothkrantz. Image from Atomic City (1997-2006).

Future Uncertian for Providence’s “Superman Building”

Late last year the New York Times online posted an article on the Industrial Trust Building in Providence, Rhode Island. A centerpiece landmark of downtown Providence, the Art Deco gem of a skyscraper that once was the workplace of hundreds now sits vacant. The building’s most recent tenant, the Bank of America, moved out in April 2013.

According to the New York Times article, the Industrial Trust Building ”became known as the ‘Superman building,’ in the mistaken belief that it had appeared in an establishing shot for the Adventures of Superman television series of the 1950s. 

The Industrial Trust Building made Providence’s WLNE-TV’s list of Most Endangered Properties in Providence. The building’s current owners, High Rock Development, hope to convert it into luxury apartments. So far their plans have stalled, and the future of the skyscraper is uncertain.

Read more about the Industrial Trust Building on the New York Times Web site.

A Stewart Walker and Leon N. Gillette, Industrial Trust Building, Providence, RI (1927).
Image Source

SAVED: 1954 Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian House

Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1954 Usonian home, the Bachman Wilson House, has been purchased by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Increasingly threatened by floods in its original location in New Jersey, the structure will be disassembled and moved a thousand miles to its new home.

According to ArchDaily.com, which posted the news regarding the Bachman Wilson House, “In light of the threat to the building, this approach was supported by both the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and the Borough of Millstone Historic District Commission.”

Read more about the preservation of the Bachman Wilson House on ArchDaily.com.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Bachman Wilson House, Millwood, NJ (1954).
Photo credit: © Tarantino Studio 2013; courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas
Image Source

A Visit to the Exmore Diner
Last September Mod Betty of Retro Roadmap paid a visit to the Exmore Diner in Exmore Virginia. According to Mod Betty’s post, “the Exmore Diner is the only vintage diner on Virginia’s eastern shore. The diner, which opened in 1954, features pink, black and yellow tile work as well as a “swell neon clock.” 
Read Mod Betty’s entire post.
Visit the Exmore Diner’s Web site.

Exmore Diner

Patterson Vehicle Company, Exmore Diner, Exmore, VA (1954). Photo copyright 2013 Retro Roadmap.
Source: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7292/9437086084_eb0ef97f14.jpg

Julia Morgan Becomes First Woman Awarded AIA Gold Medal
Our  thanks go out to The Gamble House in Pasadena, CA for sharing this important news item with us.
Julia Morgan has been named the 2014 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gold Medal Recipient! This makes Morgan the first woman to ever be given the AIA Gold Medal. The AIA Gold Medal is the highest honor the AIA confers on an architect. It acknowledges an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Morgan’s legacy will be honored at the AIA 2014 National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago.


Julia Morgan, Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA (1922-1939).

Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/34/Hearst_Castle_Casa_del_Sol_September_2012.jpg/640px-Hearst_Castle_Casa_del_Sol_September_2012.jpg

For more information visit the AIA Web site.

Read more about architect Julia Morgan.

Frank Lloyd Wright Desk Withdrawn from Sotheby’s Auction

Thank you to our friend Dave @ Daltons American Decorative Arts for sharing this news item from the ArtInfo blog on auction house Sotheby’s decision to remove from last month’s important 20th century design auction a desk and chair form the S.C. Johnson and Son Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The S.C. Johnson Company sued Sotheby’s to remove the items from the sale claiming the desk and chair had been stolen.

Read details on ArtInfo.com.

Johnson wax Administration building desk

Frank Lloyd Wright, S. C. Johnson Wax Administration Building Desk (1938).

Source: http://blogs.artinfo.com/artintheair/files/2013/12/095N09058_76GWC1.jpg