In Montara, California, architect Michael Maltzan designed a home for, his sister and brother-in-law. From certain vantage points, the home’s unique angles result in M.C. Escher–like optical illusions.
After searching in vain for an empty lot to build on, architect Brian White settled for a nondescript 1960s ranch that nobody else wanted—and proved that building from the ground up doesn’t always start on the ground.
Although postwar California modernism is generally associated with Southern California, the Bay Area’s own tradition has begun in recent years to be more widely acknowledged, and its surviving treasures have gained an appreciative audience. San Francisco’s modernists were faced with the issue of building within a firmly established stylistic tradition—think bay windows and gingerbread. Henry Hill’s 1947 renovation of a 1908 Victorian tucked away on an alley in historic Russian Hill provides a remarkable response to the dilemma.
High-rise superblocks and identical clusters of row houses set apart from the urban grid have been much maligned as some of the major wrongdoings of modernism, but Detroit's Lafayette Park—the first urban-renewal project in the United States—tells a vastly different story. Within a sprawling, decentralized city that has suffered near-disastrous decline, this racially and economically diverse enclave just northeast of downtown has not only aged gracefully but today flourishes with new life.