Latest Articles in Preservation

Photo by Kelly Barrie.

Prefab Jazz

Jazz has a history of being recorded in intimate spaces. And I don't mean the small after-hours clubs or closet-cum-studios plenty of the greats suffered through. Take legendary Blue Note engineer Rudy Van Gelder, he recorded some of his masterpieces in his parents' Hackensack living room because of its particular acoustics. Leap forward a half century and trade New Jersey for the hills overlooking Pasadena and you'll find pianist Greg Reitan, whose most recent album Daybreak on Sunnyside Records was cut in the 1968 prefab house by architect J. Lamont Langworthy he's called home for 13 years. Langworthy's design is part of the Ford Motor Company-sponsored Concept Houses line, which eventually petered out after around 100 were built across California. I talked with Greg about life in a Langworthy and recording at home, and he offered us the chance to stream three tracks from Daybreak. Turns out the house sounds as groovy as it looks. Enjoy the music and the architecture.
September 23, 2011
Unfinished Spaces Ballet exterior

The "Unfinished Spaces" of Cuba

Following the revolution in 1959, Fidel Castro stood on the sprawling golf course of a country club known to be the stomping grounds of the rich and decreed that in place, a school dedicated to the arts be built. In a new documentary called Unfinished Spaces, directors Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray explore one of the great architectural gestures of the Cuban Revolution: a marked commitment to foster and nurture a generation of creatives and give them an outlet to hone their craft. Yes, the film is interesting from a historical perspective—it's also one of the most engrossing architecture documentaries I've seen both in of the personal stories of the individual architects as well as the structures they designed. Moreover, it shows a bygone interest in a civic investment in the artistic education of a nation, an interest that should be rekindled and not relegated to history books.
September 1, 2011
Shown to the right is the Headlands Center gym, a former military building dating from 1908.

Reimagining the Headlands Center

The Headlands Center for the Arts, located due north of San Francisco in Fort Barry (part of the Golden Gate National Recreation area), is in the midsts of reimagining one of their historic buildings, a gymnasium built in 1908. The structure is currently used for special events and as studios for visiting artists, but the Center envisions a community-oriented space that fosters active imagination and aesthetic appreciation. The project, called "Open to the Elements," has no shortage of challenges, namely balancing historic preservation and an environmentally-sensitive site. To spearhead the ideas phase, Headlands contacted Rotterdam-based design group Observatorium, whose work embraces the intersection of urban design, architecture, and art.
June 3, 2011
Miller House in Columbus, Indiana

Miller House in Columbus, Indiana by Eero Saarinen

Eero Saarinen’s legendary Miller House opened to the public in May 2011 for the first time. Leslie Williamson gives us an intimate tour of this Columbus, Indiana, treasure.  
May 2, 2011
An aerial view of Miami Marine Stadium reveals its current ravaged state.<br /><br />Photo by Rick Bravo.

Preserving the Miami Marine Stadium

In 1963, Jack Meyer figured out how to make concrete fly. Meyer was head engineer on construction of Miami’s Commodore Munroe Stadium (now known as Miami Marine Stadium), a grandstand for boat races, water shows, and floating-stage events. Its waveform roof was the world’s longest span of cantilevered concrete. Shuttered in 1992, the stadium has moldered ever since. Since 2008, Friends of Miami Marine Stadium—a preservation group affiliated with Dade Heritage Trust—has pushed for restoration. Dwell spoke with Meyer, now 87, about the hardest project of his career.
April 21, 2011
vento residence portrait

Fine Finnish

A pair of crafty designers on a serious budget show that though their apartment may be short on square footage, it’s long on charm.
March 7, 2011
taalman renovation post7 thumb

Hollywood Renovation: Week 7

In this exclusive series for, Linda Taalman of Taalman Koch Architecture tracks the hands-on renovation of her and her partner's live-work space in Hollywood, California. Week 7: Flashback! This week’s post is a lead-up to the living solutions we will soon propose for our living and dining spaces. Since starting this blog post with Dwell, we’ve connected with individuals who have had a special relationship to Ellwood and the Courtyard Apartments. This week we had a visit from Frank Swig, the first tenant of unit A of the Courtyard Apartments, who lived here from 1953-1962. He shared with us his stories of living here as a bachelor in his 20’s when he came out to Hollywood to work at CBS as an art director. The CBS studios are only a block away and he was walking down our street one day when he saw a 'for rent' sign taped up in the window. Frank gave us a peek into the ‘Mad Men’ era he lived in and the style of the apartment at that time. He’s the second octogenarian we’ve recently met that has a strong relationship with this building. Al and Trudy Kallis, a couple who wanted to build one of our itHouses, knew the architect, Craig Ellwood, personally and they generously gave us an original copy of a rare Ellwood book with great photos of the Ellwood Apartments when they were brand new. Frank pointed to one of the pictures in the book and said, “See that in the upstairs window? That’s my easel!”
February 23, 2011
Marcel Breuer's "House in a Museum Garden" was originally built in the Museum of Modern Art's sculpture garden and is now located in Pocantico Hills, New York on the Rockefeller estate.

Restoring Breuer's House in Garden

Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate in Pocantico Hills, New York, hearkens from the days of robber barons and captains of industry. Acres of manicured lawns, a six-story stone-clad mansion, carriage house, golf course, and sculpture garden have an unlikely neighbor: a modest home intended for America’s everyman—America’s everyman with good taste, that is.
February 20, 2011
barcelona javier mariscal magazine

Barcelona, Day Two

On our second day in Barcelona, fueled by café con leche and enough jamon to kill a horse, we excitedly settled into a breakneck tour of modern Catalan design and architecture. From Gaudi and Dali to Mariscal and Alvarez, our Barcelona education continues in earnest.
January 29, 2011