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TUCSON MODERNISM WEEK

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TUCSON MODERNISM WEEK

Tucson Modernism Week is a celebration of our region’s Mid-Century design legacy. The events are presented to raise awareness and educate the community about the cultural value of these unique resources. TMW 2014 Credits: LEAD VOLUNTEERS Committee Members: Demion Clinco, Andie Zelnio Volunteer Coordinator: Carrie Dally Lecture Programming: Chris Evans, Andie Zelnio, Michael Fassett, Carlos Lozano Classic Cars: Alex Mastrangelo, Thom Sherwood Pop Up Shop/Furniture Expo: Darren Clark Media & PR: Jen Powers Trailers: Jennifer Mead Home Tour Programming: Michelle Hotchkiss Food & Beverages: Suzy Gershman Sponsorship: Patricia Katchur & Elizabeth Przygoda Logo design: Gary Patch

THE GUIDE Editorial Director: Gillian Drummond Creative Director: Colleen Loomis Advertising Director: Nicola Freegard Contributors: Helen Erickson, Frank Mascia, Marshall Shore, Claudine Villardito, Andie Zelnio With thanks to: Demion Clinco, Andie Zelnio, Gerardine Vargas, Jude Ignacio, fotovitamina [Matthew Yates+Rosanna Salonia] Š 2014 3 Story Media LLC Published by 3 Story Media LLC, P.O. Box 12922, Tucson, AZ 85732 Printed by Arizona Lithographers, Tucson, AZ


For the third consecutive year Tucson’s modernists convene to celebrate the distinctive architecture and design that defined the 1950s and 60s in the Old Pueblo. Tucson’s modernism captured the exuberance of the post WWII era. Defined by clean, simple lines and a casual informality, the movement has come to be defined in the southern Arizona desert as Sonoran Modern and is characterized by the use of regional materials, adaptation to the desert climate and an emphasis on indoor/outdoor living. Each year the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation and the Tucson Modernism Week committee strive to present a robust program that spotlights lectures, films, entertainers and tours that provide a deeper understanding of this movement, its importance and continuing impact. This year we are delighted to highlight icon architect Robert Swaim, who was a principal at Cook & Swaim and CNWCS Architects from 1961 – 1969 before founding his own firm, Swaim Associates, in 1969. Swaim’s considerable modern contributions include Orchard River Townhomes and the Western Savings and Loan inverted pyramid building. Swaim will discuss his work and is graciously opening his home as part of the TMW Home Tour. We hope you will join us for these special events celebrating modernism in Tucson. Demion Clinco Committee member, Tucson Modernism Week President, Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation.

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CONTENTS

WELCOME 4

Why the ‘50s make me swoon

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Tucson à la Mode

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The Shape of Mid-Century Modern Furniture

21

Mid Century Modern Tucson in Pictures

24

The Design Boom in the Desert

27

Landscaping a Tucson landmark

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Tucson Modernism Week Schedule 2014


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Hirsh’s 1954 (above) Hirsh’s Shoes Today (left)

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s MAKE ME SWOON

by Marshall Shore

Marshall Shore tells why collecting mid-century ephemera makes his heart flutter.

“Why do you have these drapes?” my mother asked. “I grew up with ones just like this. You didn’t.” Let me explain. When we relocated from New York City to Arizona, owning a mid-50s ranch was an anticipated perk. After house hunting through many bad remodels, we suddenly walked into a 1956 ranch with a butter cream yellow tiled kitchen, original oven with no window, and matching stovetop with pushbuttons inset in the wall. Mesmerizing! The original unpainted woodwork and doors, bathrooms tiled in combinations of green/black and pink/black: this was the time capsule we desired. The house required only minimal corrections.

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First, those drapes mentioned above did not come with the house, but the white ruffley ones that did were quickly disposed of. Local purveyors lacked appropriate stock, but a wide array of reproduction fabrics were available online. Pulling How to Make Drapes, I got to work with a 1962 Singer Rocketeer. Though the exterior red brick had been painted cream and beige, it beckoned for a change to sea foam and cantaloupe.


The modern linoleum sheet floor was replaced with square tiles in what has been described as “Martha Stewart on crack” multi-colored patchwork goodness. There was a long wall begging for shelves, but again, nothing easily available seemed to fit the space, nor a librarian’s budget. Instead, I designed a one-of-a-kind 18-foot long modular shelving unit. Playing into the minimalist lines of the house, it evolved into what I like to call “minimal-maximus.” It soon housed collections that include toys, chinoiserie, and cocktail stirrers. If you’re going to have a couple, why not a couple hundred? Now you might ask, like my Mom, “Why?” Why the nostalgia for an era that I didn’t personally experience? Why so much? Why to such an extreme? Mainly, it makes me smile! Populuxe design teems with optimism, style, and quirkiness, and it tells a story of a bygone era. My youth was filled with attendance at car shows, gravitating to the Kaisers, Skylarks, and Isettas. Growing up with a father that built cars from scratch, for fun, one could say automobiles are in my blood. But vehicles require space, time, and tools, all of which seemed unmanageable in my small apartments.

Marshall Shore. Photo by Jamie Peachey

* When he’s not swooning over the ‘50s ephemera in his Phoenix home, Marshall Shore, Arizona’s ‘Hip Historian’, can be found at marshallshore.com. He will be appearing at Tucson Modernism Week on Friday, October 10, 6-7pm, Evangelical Lutheran Church, 115 N. Tucson Blvd.

Ephemera, though, is a whole other story: small, compact, and easy to acquire. Curating those mass-produced everyday items that were deemed disposable by the cocktail stirrer from Ramada Inn. Learning about local legend Del Webb’s partnership in the chain made me smile. Learning that iconic Phoenix sign designer Glen Guyett created that logo made me swoon.

* To find your own mid-mod ephemera, pay a visit to Tucson Modernism Week’s Mid-Century Furniture Marketplace, which takes place Friday October 3rd to Sunday October 5th at 2903 E. Broadway Blvd, Tucson. For the full TMW event schedule see p. 29.

Arizona was unmistakably a Promised Land for exuberant postwar pop culture and space age design. You don’t need to have lived through that era to appreciate the treasures it left behind. You only need to know where to find them. We chose the right place. 5


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tucson À la modE by C l a u d i n e Vi l l a rd i t o

In the 1950s, Tucson was one of the coolest places to be, with department stores and fashions that made national headlines. Vintage fashion expert Claudine Villardito takes us on a style tour of the Old Pueblo.

“In the window a quartet of red evening gowns clustered around a handmade harpsichord touting the previous evening’s symphony concert. A prominent business owner commented, ‘Our neighbors opened their emporium and … (downtown) looks like Fifth Avenue.’” – Tucson Daily Citizen, 1958

‘Tucson chic’ incorporated native materials. Photo courtesy of LIFE magazine.

It may surprise you to know that writer Alex Jacome was talking about Tucson – particularly when, for many these days, dressing up means wearing “good flip flops”. But Tucson was once a fashion and culture mecca. In fact, in 1956 there was hardly a cooler place to be. Thanks to the post-war success of the aerospace, manufacturing and construction industries, Tucson experienced a 370% increase in population between 1950 and 1960. Then in June of 1956 Elvis played the rodeo grounds and Tucson began its ascent into indie stardom. A rock and roll “Show of Stars” soon followed, as did twelve motion picture productions. Tucson was firmly on the style map. The rise in Tucson’s profile benefited its tourism industry, which was already booming due to TV western viewers’ desire for an authentic “Old West” experience. When Rex Allen led the rodeo parade in 1956, the connection between Hollywood and Tucson reached a tipping point. Before long, stars like Elizabeth Taylor took regular holidays at the city’s budding dude ranches, and Tucson had hatched a unique brand of mid-mod Western Americana similar to Palm Springs and Las Vegas.

Southwestern regional fashion spread to national department stores. Photo courtesy of LIFE magazine.

A critical component of the city’s new brand was its personal style. Happily, Tucson was awash with entrepreneurial and sartorial talent in the mid-1950s. 8


Retail magnate Albert Steinfeld opened Tucson’s first modern department store on the southwest corner of Stone and Pennington in 1906. Luxuriously remodeled in 1957, it was considered the most elegant store in town and became a destination for locals and tourists alike. Steinfeld made history when he leased the property across the street to competitor Carlos Jácome, who opened his own state-of-the-art retail complex in 1951. Just one block away stood Levy’s, Tucson’s third native department store, which debuted its downtown location in 1950. In addition to their spacious men’s, women’s and children’s departments, each of these stores featured a “Tucsonian Shop” that specialized in clothing with a Tucson bent. Though similar in silhouette to the styles worn in the rest of the country, “Tucsonian Shop” clothes were purpose-built for the region’s climate and were regularly exhibited at Steinfelds’ annual “Parade of Fashion.” Locally-grown Pima cottons were abundantly used for their breathability and durability after multiple washings.

“Squaw” sets - tiered full skirts with matching off-theshoulder tops - were directly borrowed from Native American cultures and suggested couture’s hourglass shape without the use of sweltering corsets. Local artists like Ted DeGrazia and Harwood Steiger designed custom fabrics for skirts and sundresses that depicted illustrated scenes of life in the Southwest. Cool and colorful while still smart and practical, “Tucsonian Shop” clothes resonated so profoundly with the tourists who bought them that both Women’s Wear Daily and NBC’s Watch the World presented feature stories on local fashion in 1953. By the middle of the decade, Southwestern regional fashion was a mainstay in upscale national department stores like Neiman Marcus. The scion of Tucson fashion, however, was neither a retail tycoon nor a trained designer. Raised in the Southern Arizona mining town of Bisbee, Cele Peterson grew up watching the Mexican Revolution unfold from the hills around her home in the 19-teens. Though her father was a Paris-trained tailor, Cele herself had no formal experience in the clothing business when she opened her downtown co-ed shop on a $300 bet in 1931.

In the mid-1950s there was hardly a cooler place to be than Tucson. Photo courtesy of Arizona Historical Society Collection, PC 207.

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“Tucsonian Shop” clothes resonated strongly with tourists. Photo courtesy of LIFE magazine.


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Here’s Here’swhat whatyouyoudidn’t didn’tknow know about about1950s 1950s Tucson: Tucson: The The Tucson Tucson High High School School graduating graduating class class of of 1956 1956 hadhad only only seven seven fewer fewer students students than than thethe University University of of Arizona Arizona thethe same same year. year. Tucson Tucson landed landed oneone of of thethe country’s country’s firstfirst TopTop 4040 radio radio stations stations in 1957. in 1957.

AA Kiss Kiss Before Before Dying Dying (1956) (1956) The The movie movie prominently prominently featured featured thethe Valley Valley National National Bank Bank building’s building’s pink pink marble marble lobby lobby andand its its rooftop. rooftop. “America’s “America’s Favorite Favorite Cowboy” Cowboy” Gene Gene Autry Autry founded founded Arizona’s Arizona’s second second television television station, station, KOLD KOLD TVTV Channel Channel 13,13, in 1952. in 1952. Jácome’s Jácome’s Department Department Store Store housed housed original original works works of of artart byby muralists muralists Salvador Salvador Corona Corona andand Edith Edith Hamlin Hamlin Dixon, Dixon, which which now now hang hang at at thethe Tucson Tucson Convention Convention Center. Center. Ginger Ginger Rogers Rogers danced danced at the at the Rialto Rialto Theater Theater when when sheshe waswas onlyonly 14 14 years years old.old.

Drawing Drawing only only from from her her own own taste, taste, she she began began designing designing her her own own clothes clothes in in the the 1940s. 1940s.Among Among them them were were matched matched daywear daywear outfi outfi ts ts in in denim denim and and corduroy, corduroy, two two fabrics fabrics popular popular in in the the desert desert Southwest. Southwest. Named Named forfor the the society society women women who who favored favored them, them, her her “Station “Station Wagon Wagon Togs” Togs” created created such such anan international international sensation sensation that that Cele Cele was was invited invited toto design design a runway a runway collection collection at at the the New New York York Metropolitan Metropolitan Opera Opera a few a few years years later. later. ByBy the the mid-1950s mid-1950s the the Cele Cele Peterson Peterson brand brand was was synonymous synonymous with with “Tucson “Tucson Chic”: Chic”: elegant elegant day day and and formal formal wear wear that that tastefully tastefully incorporated incorporated native native materials materials like like copper, copper, silver silver and and turquoise. turquoise.In In 1956 1956 the the second second floor floor ofof her her shop shop housed housed a full a full staff staff ofof seamstresses, seamstresses, and and byby 1958 1958 she she had had expanded expanded her her store store toto three three levels levels and and 2222 departments, departments, including including aa cosmetics cosmetics counter, counter, furfur salon salon and and rare rare imports imports room. room. AsAs more more residents residents arrived arrived in in Tucson, Tucson, the the suburbs suburbs siphoned siphoned neighborhoods neighborhoods away away from from downtown downtown and and the the shopping shopping mall mall concept concept displaced displaced the the shopping shopping district district model. model.And And asas fewer fewer people people visited visited downtown, downtown, retailers, retailers, hotels hotels and and entertainment entertainment venues venues relocated relocated oror closed closed altogether. altogether. The The creative creative energy energy that that gave gave birth birth toto Tucson’s Tucson’s style style heyday heyday had had dissipated. dissipated. Fortunately Fortunately forfor today’s today’s Tucson Tucson residents, residents, glimpses glimpses ofof that that energy energy areare reappearing. reappearing. “Tucson “Tucson Chic” Chic” is is alive alive and and well well in in local local vintage vintage boutiques* boutiques* and, and, thanks thanks toto a few a few brave brave pioneering pioneering restaurateurs, restaurateurs, downtown downtown is is becoming becoming a foodie a foodie and and craft craft cocktail cocktail Valhalla. Valhalla. But But asas a lover a lover ofof allall things things vintage vintage and and anan admirer admirer ofof Tucson’s Tucson’s fashion fashion heyday, heyday, I’dI’d love love toto see see some some luxe luxe hotel hotel lobbies, lobbies, traffi traffi c-stopping c-stopping shop shop windows, windows, and and one-of-a-kind one-of-a-kind retail retail once once more. more. And And fewer fewer flipflip flops. flops.

* When * When she’s she’s notnot being being a fountain a fountain of of vintage vintage fashion fashion knowledge, knowledge, Claudine Claudine Villardito Villardito runsruns herher ownown boutique, boutique, Black Black CatCat Vintage, Vintage, selling selling to vintage to vintage lovers lovers worldwide. worldwide. FindFind it atit blackcatvintage. at blackcatvintage. com. com. SheShe willwill be be appearing appearing as aasspeaker a speaker at Reel at Reel Fashion, Fashion, a Tucson a Tucson th th Modernism Modernism Week Week filmfilm andand fashion fashion event, event, on on October October 8 8at Fox at Fox Theatre Theatre Tucson. Tucson. SeeSee thethe schedule schedule on on p. 29 p. 29 forfor details. details. Left: Left: TheThe Valley Valley National National Bank Bank building building on Congress on Congress Street Street waswas featured featured in in

A Kiss A Kiss Before Before Dying Dying (1956). (1956). Photo Photo courtesy courtesy of MGM. of MGM.

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Come dressed in your favorite vintage outfit or just as you are.

Andrea Kelly of Arizona Public Media

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HISTORIC ADOBES / MID-CENTURY MODERN RANCHES 13


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Custom CustomFabricators Fabricators- -Mid-Century Mid-CenturyCollectors Collectors&&Sellers Sellers- -Tom TomGist GistExhibition Exhibition F U R N I T U R E • A R T • L I G H T I N G • C E R A M I C S • H O U S E WA R E S • A C C E S S O R I E S • A R T DECO•RETRO•DANISHMODERN•FAB50’S•MOD60’S•PLASTIC 7 0 ’ S • T I K I • K I T S C H • C H R O M E • B A K E L I T E • T E A K • E A M E S • PAT O N • N E L S O N • W E G N E R • K N O L L • H E R M A N M I L L E R • R U S S E L W R I G H T • B A U G H M A N • J E W E L RY • F U R N I T U R E • A R T • L I G H T I N G • C E R A M I C S • H O U S E WA R E S • A C C E S S O R I E S • A R T D E C O • R E T R O • D A N I S H M O D E R N • FA B 50’S•MOD60’S•PLASTIC70’S•TIKI•KITSCH•CHROME•BAKELITE• T E A K • E A M E S • PAT O N • N E L S O N • W E G N E R • K N O L L • H E R M A N M I L L E R • R U S S E L W R I G H T • B A U G H M A N • J E W E L RY • F U R N I T U R E • A R T • L I G H T I N G • C E R A M I C S • HOUSEWARES•ACCESSORIES•ARTDECO•RETRO•DANISHMODERN•FAB50’S•MOD6 0’S•PLASTIC70’S•TIKI•KITSCH•CHROME•BAKELITE•TEAK•EAMES•PATON•NELSON• W E G N E R • K N O L L • H E R M A N M I L L E R • R U S S E L W R I G H T • B A U G H M A N • J E W E L RY • F U R N I T U R E • A R T • L I G H T I N G • C E R A M I C S • H O U S E WA R E S • A C C E S S O R I E S • A R T D E C O • R E T R O • D A N I S H M O D E R N • FA B 50’S•MOD60’S•PLASTIC70’S•TIKI•KITSCH•CHROME•BAKELITE• T E A K • E A M E S • PAT O N • N E L S O N • W E G N E R • K N O L L • H E R M A N M I L L E R • R U S S E L W R I G H T • B A U G H M A N • J E W E L RY • F U R N I T U R E • A R T • L I G H T I N G • C E R A M I C S • H O U S E WA R E S • A C C E S S O R I E S • A R T D E C O • R E T R O • D A N I S H M O D E R N • FA B 50’S•MOD60’S•PLASTIC70’S•TIKI•KITSCH•CHROME•BAKELITE• T E A K • E A M E S • PAT O N • N E L S O N • W E G N E R • K N O L L • H E R M A N M I L L E R • R U S S E L W R I G H T • B A U G H M A N • J E W E L RY • F U R N I T U R E • A R T • L I G H T I N G • C E R A M I C S • H O U S E WA R E S • A C C E S S O R I E S • A R T D E C O • R E T R O • D A N I S H M O D E R N • F A B 5 0 ’ S • M O D 6 0 ’ S • P L A S T I C 70’S•TIKI•KITSCH•CHROME•BAKELITE•TEAK•EAMES•PATON•NELSON•WEGNER• K N OT LU CLS•OHN EM R WcRsI GoHnTm • BoA d UG O DM E RAN N I SM M IWLE L E KE R • R U S S EtLu . cH oM AmN • J E W E L R Y •

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tHE sHapE oF mid-mod FurniturE by Andie Zelnio

Kidney-shaped tables, saucer-shaped lamps and womb-shaped chairs: what’s not to love about mid-century modern furniture? But have you ever wondered why it looks the way it does? Andie Zelnio explains. Architect Eero Saarinen famously said: “A chair should look well as a piece of sculpture in a room when no one is in it.� It was a sentiment echoed by many designers in the middle of the 20th century and characterized by one or more of the following: the use of light sculptural forms, the experimentation with new materials, and the elimination of unnecessary ornament.

In America, during the 1930s, the Machine Age style prevailed as the research and development of materials and forms for transportation (airplanes, trains, automobiles) influenced the design of furniture and household appliances. Later, midcentury designers such as Harry Bertoia, Florence Knoll and Charles Eames experimented with lighter uses of metal, such as stainless steel wire mesh or rods and delicate chrome legs, allowing their furniture to visually float in space.

Beginning in 1945, America entered a period of optimism and unprecedented expansion and progress. Post-war housing developments for the new middle class featured smaller, more open living spaces that necessitated new furniture silhouettes. The solid walls and compartmentalized rooms of the past were replaced with the transparency and lightness of open spaces and glass walls. The new furniture needed to be smaller, lighter and more sculptural in form.

From the 19th century Arts & Crafts movement, furniture with a hand-crafted look and the warmth of natural wood was made popular. Decades later, Finnish architect Alvar Aalto experimented with bent wood technologies. Though no longer hand-made, this style is most closely associated with Scandinavian furniture designers, such as Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner and Jens Risom. Inspired by the possibilities, mid-century designers Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames developed new methods for molding plywood into shell forms.

The use of metal in residential furniture traces its roots in Europe to the International Style of the 1920s and to furniture designed in the Bauhaus and by architects, such as Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer and Le Corbusier. Their elegant tubular steel furniture is often mis-characterized as mid-century rather than as its natural ancestor.

In describing mid-century furniture, sculptural, organic and biomorphic are the words that come to mind. The expressive, natural forms of Art Nouveau gave birth to a more abstract organic style in the 20th century, made possible by the wealth of new materials, a by-product of wartime research. For the first time, fiberglass, 17


cast aluminum, acrylics, polyester resins and foam rubber entered the design vocabulary. Inspired by a science-driven society and images newly revealed by microscopes and telescopes, these biomorphic shapes and patterns appealed to designers who wanted to create furniture as sculpture, such as Eero Saarinen, Arne Jacobsen and Isamu Noguchi. Though many companies produced progressivelystyled residential furniture, two American companies led the way with their innovative approach to licensing the word of artists and architects and paying royalties for their designs. Knoll International was created by Hans Knoll in 1938, but the company found its creative focus when Hans married Florence Schust in 1946. A talented designer, Florence and her influence were key in developing a signature look for the company. Knoll attracted an illustrious international stable of designers including Jens Risom, Harry Bertoia, Isamu Noguchi, George Nakashima and Eero Saarinen.

The Herman Miller Company had long been involved in furniture manufacturing, but in 1946 architect George Nelson was hired as design director. He steered the company in a new design-driven direction, and the golden years of Herman Miller’s modern era began. Their long relationship with Charles and Ray Eames is among the most successful collaborations of this period. To this day, the Nelson and Eames designs form the company identity. Today, the products and designers of this period are recognized for their artistry and integrity, and remain the gold standard in modern furniture design. Though most of these designs remain in production, others create copies, inspired by the innovative shapes and forms that, somehow, remain “modern” some 60 years later. * Andie Zelnio is a Tucson architect and designer. Her knowledge of mid-century design can be traced back to a thoroughly modern childhood and an influential father who surrounded her with it. * Don’t miss The Life and Work of Harry Bertoia, a lecture by his daughter Celia, October 4 at 11:30am-12:30pm, Faith Lutheran Church, 3925 E. 5th Street

Above: Furniture as sculpture: George Nelson’s Marshmallow Sofa. Photo courtesy of Herman Miller. Right: A table by Isamu Noguchi, an example of more abstract organic style. Photo courtesy of Herman Miller.

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WHO’S WHO IN MID-CENTuRY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGN HARRY BERTOIA He was practicing ergonomics way ahead of his time, studying the human body to design well-fitting, practical chairs. His line of metal chairs sculpted out of welded steel rods, created for Knoll, launched in 1952 and are still in production now. FLORENCE KNOLL Her marriage to Hans Knoll was key to furniture company Knoll International developing a signature look. She designed some of the most classic Knoll pieces and developed a renowned stable of designers that included Harry Bertoia, a former classmate from Cranbrook Academy of Art. CHARLES AND RAY EAMES This husband and wife team is famous for their molded plywood chairs, their work with molded fiberglass, and the world-renowned Eames lounge chair – now permanently in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Their long relationship with Herman Miller is among the most successful collaborations of this period. EERO SAARINEN Also a graduate of Cranbrook, and another of Knoll’s stable of designers, this Finnish architect started designing furniture in his teens. His pedestal table and tulip chairs are considered icons of American modernism. GEORGE NELSON When the Herman Miller Company hired this architect as design director in 1946, it steered the company in a new direction and Herman Miller’s modern era began. HANS KNOLL German-born and from a prominent furniture-making family, he created Knoll International in 1938 after moving to New York. He married Florence Schust in 1946. 19

Top: A Charles Eames molded plywood chair. Photo courtesy of Herman Miller. Middle: Harry Bertoia’s metal chair is still in production today. Photo courtesy of Knoll. Above: The Brno chair by Mies Van der Rohe is an example of Machine Age style. Photo courtesy of Knoll.


masterpiece Arthur Brown Architect 1900-1993

H AN D CR AF T E D MO DE RN L IVING

HAZELBAKER RUSH architecture

remodels interiors www.ha-ru.co

Susie DeConcini (520) 977-3900 Tim Hagyard (520) 241-3123

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fabrication

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artist by appointment art@alexandragjurasic.com www.alexandragjurasic.com


Mid-Century Modern Tucson in Pictures Tucson’s mid-century modern era is still with us, in the city’s neon signs, original storefronts, churches and office buildings. Photos by Gerardine Vargas, Jude Ignacio and fotovitamina.

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Frank Frank Lloyd Lloyd Wright’s Wright’sorganic organicarchitecture, architecture,combined combined with with the the Arts Arts and andCrafts Craftsmovement, movement,might mighthave havebeen beenthe the jumping–off jumping–off point pointfor foran anAmerican Americanpost-war post-waraesthetic. aesthetic.But But this this new new aesthetic aestheticwas wasmore morethan thanan anextension extensionofofpre-war pre-war trends. trends. These Theseyoung youngarchitects architectshad hadspent spenttime timeininEurope, Europe, exposed exposed to to the theInternational InternationalStyle Styleofofarchitecture architectureand and specifi specifically cally the theBauhaus Bauhausmovement movement––aastyle styleofofsimplicity, simplicity, rationality rationality and andfunctionality. functionality.

By Frank Mascia

Mid-century Mid-centuryarchitecture, architecture, like like the the baby baby boom, happened penedwhen whenthe theGIs GIscame came home. home. During During the war, thousands thousandsof ofsoldiers, soldiers,sailors sailors and and airmen airmen were introduced ducedto tothe thehonest, honest,indignantly indignantly beautiful beautiful and unique

And And so so itit was was that thatthe theworks worksof ofWalter WalterGropius, Gropius,Ludwig Ludwig Mies Mies van van der der Rohe Roheand andLe LeCorbusier Corbusiercombined combinedwith withour our

Priest PriestResidence. Residence.Rendering Renderingcourtesy courtesyofofLockard LockardCollection, Collection, Arizona Arizona Architectural Architectural Archives, University University of of Arizona. Arizona.

24 24

AAmid-century mid-centuryTucson Tucsonhome homedesigned designedbybyarchitect architect Arthur Arthur Brown. Brown. Photo Photoby byDavid DavidOlsen Olsenand andcourtesy courtesyofofLong LongRealty/Tim Realty/Tim Hagyard. Hagyard.

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When Whenititcame cameto toaahousing housing shortage, shortage, we were clearly more morethan thanup upto tothe thetask. task. This This was was aa chance for America totoembrace embracethe thefuture futurewith with an an emphasis emphasis on the democratic cratic––to totarget targetthe theneeds needs of of the the average average American family familyand andininturn turnto tofulfi fulfillll years years of of pent-up pent-up needs and desires. desires.

Mid-century architecture, like the baby boom, happened when the GIs came home. During the war, thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen were introduced to the honest, indignantly beautiful and unique

place place that that was wasand andremains remainsTucson. Tucson.AAfew fewofofthem themwere were architects. architects. unencumbered unencumberedby byhomage homagetotothe thepast, past,these these newly newly minted minted modernist modernistarchitects, architects,along alongwith withaafew fewlocal local practitioners practitioners (Arthur (ArthurT.T.Brown Brownand andRichard RichardA.A.Morse, Morse,toto name name just just two), two),led ledour ourcity cityto toproduce produceaarich richpalette paletteofof buildings buildings that thatwere wereappropriate, appropriate,thoughtful, thoughtful,fully fullyaware awareofof their their desert desert setting setting--and andas asbeautiful beautifulasasTucson Tucsonitself. itself.

dEsign Boom in tHE dEsErt

Back Backininpost-World post-WorldWar War IIII America, America, everything everything seemed possible. possible.America Americahad hadharnessed harnessed economics, economics, technology and andthe theatom atomto tolead leadthe the world world through through the Depression and andthe thewar. war.We Wewere werebrimming brimming with with confidence and optimism, timism,bordering borderingon onarrogance. arrogance. ItIt was was a time of perhaps too toomuch muchjingoism jingoismbut, but,nevertheless, nevertheless, exceptional music, art artand andliterature. literature.

A mid-century Tucson home designed by architect Arthur Brown. Photo by David Olsen and courtesy of Long Realty/Tim Hagyard.

During Duringthe themiddle middle of of the the last last century, century, Tucson was not not only only aa hub hub of ofnew newbuilding, building,ititwas wasaaplace placeofof innovative innovativearchitecture. architecture. Frank Frank Mascia looks back at a desert desert design designboom boomthat thathas hasleft leftits itsmark. mark.

Priest Residence. Rendering courtesy of Lockard Collection, Arizona Architectural Archives, University of Arizona.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic architecture, combined with the Arts and Crafts movement, might have been the jumping–off point for an American post-war aesthetic. But this new aesthetic was more than an extension of pre-war trends. These young architects had spent time in Europe, exposed to the International Style of architecture and specifically the Bauhaus movement – a style of simplicity, rationality and functionality. When it came to a housing shortage, we were clearly more than up to the task. This was a chance for America to embrace the future with an emphasis on the democratic – to target the needs of the average American family and in turn to fulfill years of pent-up needs and desires.

During the middle of the last century, Tucson was not only a hub of new building, it was a place of innovative architecture. Frank Mascia looks back at a desert design boom that has left its mark.

BByy FFrraann kk M M aa ss cc i a

And so it was that the works of Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier combined with our

place that was and remains Tucson. A few of them were architects. unencumbered by homage to the past, these newly minted modernist architects, along with a few local practitioners (Arthur T. Brown and Richard A. Morse, to name just two), led our city to produce a rich palette of buildings that were appropriate, thoughtful, fully aware of their desert setting - and as beautiful as Tucson itself. Back in post-World War II America, everything seemed possible. America had harnessed economics, technology and the atom to lead the world through the Depression and the war. We were brimming with confidence and optimism, bordering on arrogance. It was a time of perhaps too much jingoism but, nevertheless, exceptional music, art and literature.

dEsign dEsign Boom in tHE dEsErt dEsErt


Tucson mid-century modernism, similar to the work of Brazilian and Scandinavian architects at this time, exhibited a more regional and organic form and was less formal than the pure version of International Style. As would be and is the mark of all good Tucson architecture, this regionalism was characterized by our Sonoran Desert.

war suburbs of America and Tucson, were to be the best the post-war world could offer. They had ample windows and flowing floor plans, with the intention of opening up interior spaces and bringing the outdoors in – no more dark small rooms. Many utilized thengroundbreaking post-andbeam design, eliminating massive support walls in favor of walls seemingly made of glass. These houses took full advantage of the latest developments in construction technology: plywood, glu-lam beams, thin frame aluminum windows and, perhaps most importantly, package air conditioners to convert the designs of the post-war architects into reality.

Housing, for those who recently secured the American dream, was the paramount building priority for the country. These houses, bringing modernism into post-

Tucson, the little desert city with, at that time, fewer than 50,000 residents, fully embraced notions of the future with excited expectation. In 1948 Del Webb,

rich regional character to inspire the homes, shops, schools, banks and oďŹƒce buildings of Tucson notables such as Nicholas Sakellar, Bill Wilde, Bill Cook, Bob Swaim, Edward Nelson, Gordon Maas Luepke, Bob Ambrose, Carl LeMar John, Kirby Lockard and Jim Gresham.

College Shop. Photo courtesy of Wilde Collection, Arizona Architectural Archives, University of Arizona.

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later a force behind the building of Las Vegas, broke ground on Pueblo Gardens. Designed by architect A. Quincy Jones and located off 22nd Street and Cherrybell, it was the largest housing development attempted between Dallas and Los Angeles: $20 million, 3,000 homes, in a 1000-acre subdivision for 10,000 people. The homes were progressive for the time. They had floor-to-ceiling windows on one wall of each house, fenced garden areas, exterior walls covered with California redwood, and they offered jigsaw-like lots on curved streets. But this excitement was difficult to sustain, and lack of consistent growth and stability took its toll. Tucson’s housing market dried up, as did Webb’s financing. This economic pattern would repeat itself often. In spite of this sketchy past, Tucson offers a wonderful heritage of mid-century modern buildings and homes

– enough to create regret that there is not more. Midcentury modern jewels adorn our city. We have come to embrace them; thankfully they are no longer overlooked, but celebrated for their originality, quality and delight. And I like to think the lasting heritage of mid-century design is the influence it is having on the work of our current outstanding architects. Tucson, look out: a second mid-century wave may just be on the way.

* Architect and mid-mod lover Frank Mascia, FAIA, is the founder of CDG Architects in Tucson. His work has covered everything from private dwellings to historic churches. Bob Swaim will be spotlighted during Tucson Modernism Week 2014 as an architectural icon. Swaim’s considerable contributions include Orchard River Townhomes and the Western Savings and Loan inverted pyramid building on East Speedway. For details about his lecture on Thursday, October 9, from 6pm to 7pm, go to tucsonmod.com.

An evening with

Eames

Meet and hear Eames Demetrios speak at a special event at Copenhagen Imports on November 5th 2014. Eames Demetrios is the grandson of Charles and Ray Eames and is well known around the world for his captivating speeches preserving and extending the work of Charles & Ray Eames. Please call 795-0316 to reserve your seat for this event. Seating is limited and only available with prior reservation.

Authorized Herman Miller Retailer

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

designed by Charles and Ray Eames, 1956 for Herman Miller .

3660 E. Fort Lowell

520-795-0316

www.copenhagenliving.com


landscaping A tucson landmark By Helen Erickson

A world-class landscape architect left his imprint on one of downtown Tucson’s landmarks. Helen Erickson tells the unconventional story of the land surrounding the Tucson Convention Center. The man behind it Garrett Eckbo, who in 1937 had won a scholarship competition to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Design, found himself estranged from the traditional design ethic of the landscape architecture faculty. Instead, inspired by German-born architect Walter Gropius, Eckbo and two classmates – Daniel Kiley and James Rose – charted a new course for landscape architecture. His philosophy Central to the thinking of Eckbo and his classmates was the unity of the arts in creating public spaces for the common good. Asymmetrical and non-axial arrangement, spaces flowing into one another, use of new and experimental materials, three-dimensional design, and continuity between indoor and outdoor space were hallmarks of the Modern style he favored. Eckbo and Tucson Tucson architects Edward Nelson and Bernard Friedman had seen Eckbo’s work in California, and they invited him to design the landscape surrounding the Tucson Convention Center.

The desert connection Eckbo was known for his interest in designing “people places” and for introducing arid-land plants into his designs. He understood the importance of water to those who dwell in the desert, and he recognized the unique identity of Tucson as a city of rich cultural and ecological heritage. The inspiration behind TCC’s landscape The landscape Eckbo designed is composed of three sections: Veinte de Agosto Park; the Walkway; and the Fountain Plaza. A vision of Sabino Canyon runs through all three, beginning with the fountain at Church Avenue and Congress Street. After running through a bermed wash to frame La Placita’s steps, the stream meanders through the Walkway acequia’s peephole obelisks and artesian fountains, and rushes past boulders into the quiet pools of the Fountain Plaza.

Historic landscape specialist Helen Erickson will present an overview of Eckbo and the development of the TCC as part of Tucson Modernism Week on Monday, October 6th, at 6:30 PM. The presentation will take place in the 1971 Leo Rich Theater (designed by Friedman and Jobusch), followed by a tour of the TCC grounds. For more details see schedule on p. 29.

Left to right: A vision of Sabino Canyon runs through the landscaping at Tucson Convention Center. Photos by Helen Erickson (middle) and fotovitamina [Matthew Yates+Rosanna Salonia]

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TUCSON MODERNISM WEEK 2014

SCHEDULE

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3 LECTURE (free) 5:30 - 6:30 PM RECEPTION (free) 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Martin Treu: Roadside America American Evangelical Lutheran Church, 115 N. Tucson Blvd. Mid-Century Furniture Marketplace + Gist Furniture Exhibit 2903 E. Broadway Blvd.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4 SHOPS (free) 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM SHOW ($10) 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM TOUR ($20) 10:00 AM - 3:30 PM LECTURE ($5) 10:00 - 11:00 AM LECTURE ($5) 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM LECTURE ($5) 1:00 - 2:00 PM LECTURE ($5) 2:30 - 3:30 PM LECTURE ($5) 4:00 - 5:00 PM EVENT ($25) 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Mid-Century Furniture Marketplace 2903 E. Broadway Blvd. Vintage Trailer Show Pima Community College, Downtown Campus Retro Bus Tour: Miracle Mile - 10 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm + 2:30 pm Pima Community College, Downtown Campus Saving Adobe Modern - Panel Presentation Faith Lutheran Church, 3925 E. 5th Street The Life and Work of Harry Bertoia - Celia Bertoia Faith Lutheran Church, 3925 E. 5th Street Alexander Girard Design - Adam Call Faith Lutheran Church, 3925 E. 5th Street Moving Images of Western Modernity - Jennifer Jenkins Central Church of the Nazarene, 404 S. Columbus Blvd. The Architecture of Seduction - Christopher Rawlins Central Church of the Nazarene, 404 S. Columbus Blvd. Charles Phoenix: ARIZONALAND! Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5 SHOPS (free) 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM SHOW ($10) 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM TOUR ($20) 10:30 AM - 3:00 PM

Mid-Century Furniture Marketplace 2903 E. Broadway Blvd. Vintage Trailer Show Pima Community College, Downtown Campus Modern Home Tour - self-guided tour of four modern homes Pick up location map at 2903 E. Broadway Blvd.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 6 LECTURE/TOUR (free) 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Garrett Eckbo - Modern Landscape in Tucson - Helen Erickson Tucson Community Center, Leo Rich Theater Continued on p. 32. 29


Oracle

TUCSON MODERNISM WEEK Drachman

University of Arizona 6th St.

Av ia

tio

nP

kw

y.

Tucson

3

Kino Pkwy.

ss Congre

4

Broadway 6th Ave.

I-10

2

Campbell

Euclid

6th Ave.

Stone

Main

1

1

Pima Community College, Downtown Campus

4

American Evangelical Lutheran Church, 115 N. Tucson Blvd.

2

Fox Theatre, 17 West Congress Street

5

2903 E. Broadway Blvd.

3

Tucson Community Center, Leo Rich Theatre

6

Chase Bank, 3033 E. Broadway Blvd.

30


2014 LOCATION MAP Speedway

9

Broadway

10

Alvernon

Country Club

7 5 6

Columbus

5th St.

Reid Park

Swan

8

11

22nd St. 7 Temple Emanu-El, 255 N. Country Club Blvd.

10 Central Church of the Nazarene, 404 S. Columbus Blvd.

8 Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

11 Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd Street

9 Faith Lutheran Church, 3925 E. Fifth Street 31


TUCSON MODERNISM WEEK 2014

SCHEDULE

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7 FILM ($10) 7:00 - 8:00 PM

The Vision of Paolo Soleri Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8 EVENT ($10) 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Reel Fashion - 3 Story Magazine + Fox Theatre Fox Theatre, 17 West Congress Street

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9 LECTURE (free) 6:00 - 7:00 PM RECEPTION (free) 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Icon Architect: Robert Swaim, sponsored by AIA for location consult web site Chase Bank Architecture Exhibit Chase Bank, 3033 E. Broadway

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10 EVENT (free) 6:00 - 7:00 PM PARTY ($50) 7:00 - 10:00 PM

Marshall Shore American Evangelical Lutheran Church, 115 N. Tucson Blvd. Mod Cocktail Party “a foothills home”

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11 LECTURE/TOUR ($10) 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM TOUR ($20) 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM LECTURE ($5) 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM LECTURE ($5) 1:00 - 2:00 PM LECTURE ($5) 2:30 - 3:30 PM LECTURE ($5) 4:00 - 5:00 PM EVENT ($10) 7:00 - 8:00 PM

Guy Green Landscape - Helen Erickson Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (Limit 25) Retro Bus Tour: Broadway - 10 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm + 2:30 pm Chase Bank, 3033 E. Broadway Let’s Get Away From It All - Carlos Lozano Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd Street Follow the Money - Donna Reiner Unitarian Universalist Church 4831 E. 22nd Street Ralph Haver - Everyman’s Modernist - Allison King Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd Street Judith Chafee - a Tucson legacy - Christopher Domin Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd Street Experience Modernism in 3D - Keith Pawlak, sponsored by AIGA American Evangelical Lutheran Church, 115 N. Tucson Blvd.

For tickets and more information go to tucsonmod.com 32


2014 TMW sponsors

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Tucson Modernism Week: A Collector's Guide  

Tucson Modernism Week's first official guide - a collection of essays and photos celebrating Tucson's mid-century architecture, fashion, fu...

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