FEBRUARY 2ND-MARCH 15TH 2012
TOP: Charles painting with his wife, Alice BOTTOM: Henry
Charles and Henry Greene were born in Cincinnati, Ohio to Lelia and Thomas
Greene. Charles, the older of the two was born on October 12, 1868 and just 15 months later his brother and soon to be business partner Henry was born January 23, 1870. Soon after they were born the family moved to St. Louis where as teens the boys studied at Calvin Woodward’s Manual Training School of Washington University. Here the boys learned various skills based on the tools, craftsmanship, and materials. This inevitably laid the ground work to the brother’s future careers and in 1888 they travelled to Boston to enroll at M.I.T.’s architectural program. Greene and Greene did as most did at the time and left with Certificate’s of Partial Course, a two year program. From that point they became apprentices at several of the finest architectural firms in Boston at the time, where the gained a vast knowledge of the field.
A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart.
-Frank Lloyd Wright 1
In 1893, the boys went to visit their parents in Pasadena California where they had moved from St. Louis and decided that to open up their own architectural practice in the Fall of 1894.
The Blacker House
Just before moving to Pasadena both men got married. Both women had profound effects on the Greene brothers. Henry married Emeline Dart in 1889 and shortly after brother Charles married Alice White. Charles and Alice honeymooned in England and certain sections of Europe and having seen the English Arts and Crafts Movement sparked major interest in Charlesâ€™ work.
From 1902 to 1910 the firm had its highest success. In this time period, Greene and Greene did its most notable work such as the Gamble House, Thorsen House and Blacker House. All of which were done in their famous Bungalow style. In 1903 they also started creating furniture and designing what would be in the interior of the house. Over this time span Greene and Greene completed 150 projects. Arm Chair from Blacker House
In 1911, business would be on the decline because of high prices and schedule overruns that became unacceptable to most clients. And in 1916 the brothers began to develop different interests. While Henry stayed in Pasadena and worked, Charles moved to Carmel, California.
In 1935 Henry was deeply affected by the death of his wife, Emeline which further made him loose interest in architecture. Whereas Charles continued working even through the depression but soon shifted his time towards Eastern Philosophy, spiritualism and creative writing.
Signature lamp from the Gamble House
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Henry passed away on October 2, 1954 and a few years later on June 11, 1957 Charles also passed. These men lead prolific careers in many venues, changing the face of architecture and interior design.
Here, Charles Sumner Greene shows off his graphic design skills
The Greene brothers took tremendous pride in their work. Almost every house from the ground up, was constructed by Henry and Charles. The two siblings are perfect examples of how to take ideas and expand on them. Each brother left their mark on every design, bringing the Arts and Crafts movements to new heights and ultimately changing the face of architecture. With architects like Frank Lloyd Wright constantly striving to be the best, this time period of architecture created timeless designs that will be seen for centuries. Houses were no longer just shelter, they mark the time of existance and show what designers are truly capable of.
8 Besides architecture and interior design, Greene and Greene were also great painters.
Looking at Greene and Greene built houses like the Gamble House (shown below) one can see how modern architects were inspired by the brothers. We notice the inspiration in design but also in terms of landscape. Each tree or plant served a purpose with Greene and Greene. The over-hang and and openness of the porch gave the house an open and freash feeling. And since most houses were built in the Pasadena area this suited the climate well.
“Extravgant support was a staple of Greene and Greene, people always want to feel they’re secure in their house.”
The Gamble House
The David B. Gamble house, constructed in 1908, is the internationally recognized masterpiece of the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts Movement in America. Built for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter and Gamble Company, the house is the most complete and best preserved example of the work of architects Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene who made a profound impact on the development of contemporary American architecture.
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