Page 1


Jenkin’s House II, 1955, by William Jenkins. Constructed in Steel, concrete, and glass this house is a beautiful example of minimalist modernism. Photo by Ben Hill.

Modern Legacy Preserving Houston’s Mid Century Modern Homes By Brian Hoffner • Photography by Brian Hoffner and Ben Hill If you explore old neighborhoods around Houston, you will come across pockets of post-war, modernist homes built in the mid-20th century. Many of these little gems have been lovingly cared for by owners who understand and appreciate their architecture. However, many of them have seen decades of deterioration or insensitive remodeling. There is a trend, encouraged by local non-profit group Houston Mod, to buy these Mid Century homes and restore them. Brought back to the way the original architects intended them to be enjoyed by the American family. Those architects understood that good architecture and design make living more meaningful and enjoyable. Houston has one home by the architect most Americans

2

house& home | A p r i l 2 0 1 3 | h o u s e a n d h o m e o n l i n e . com

can name, Frank Lloyd Wright. He believed the mission of architecture is to help people understand how to make life more beautiful and the world a better one for living in. Wright said, “Whenever architecture was great it was modern, and whenever architecture was modern human value was preserved.” Houston has a rich history of notable and important Mid Century Modern architects that we can be proud of: Howard Barnstone, Preston Bolton, Bruce Goff, Hugo Neuhaus, Harwood Taylor, Lars Bang, Karl Kamrath, Philip Johnson, William Floyd, and William Jenkins, to name a few. The modernist work that these architects have left us is a legacy to the city of Houston. These


NO SALES TAX

• RUST FREE • EASY INSTALLATION • LIFETIME WARRANTY

America’s #1 Aluminum Fence & Gate Store

888.379.1312 Toll Free • www.GreatFence.com 3


ABOVE: The Kamrath House, 1939, by Karl Kamrath. Mackie and Kamrath became Houston’s best known architects in the 1950s. BELOW: The organic interior of the Kamrath House blends modern architecture with traditional décor to provide a warm and welcome living space. Photos by Brian Hoffner.

homes are treasured as part of our heritage and many Houstonians appreciate their potential. They are acquiring them at great prices, understanding that they provide a good investment, a particular desired aesthetic, and quality way of living. “People are flocking to these Mid Century homes and there are great deals to be had,” says Robert Searcy, a realtor who specializes in Mid Century homes. The key is to avoid insensitive remodeling, as it will kill the golden goose. If they restore them responsibly, respecting the architecture, they will find themselves living in art space that will always grow in value. This affects the neighborhood systemically as others follow suit and the area enjoys architectural revitalization that becomes an asset to the entire city.” Mid Century finds will typically require effort and budget to return them to the minimally modern aesthetics that was the intent of their original design. Many of them need to have faux facades, bad flooring and moldings removed in order to return them to the beautiful, clean and minimalist lines that lay beneath.

4

house& home | A p r i l 2 0 1 3 | h o u s e a n d h o m e o n l i n e . com


5


THIS PAGE: The Weintraub House, 1956, by William Jenkins is a beautiful sight to see while driving through Meyerland in the evening. The interior of the Weintraub house brings the outdoor in, while the earth tones of the vintage modern furniture provide an earthy feel to a beautiful room. Photos by Ben Hill. IN THE MARKET?

Interested Houstonians can learn much about Mid Century Modern architecture at this year’s Houston Modern Market Week. There are architectural lectures, two of them by Houston’s very own architectural historian Stephen Fox. Mr. Fox is a very important asset to the city of Houston and the author of many books including the Houston Architectural Guide which is in its third printing and will be available during Modern Market Week, signed by Stephen Fox, who says “Houston has a rich and exceptionally varied array of Mid Century residential architecture. There is not only something for everyone—Usonian, Miesian, Regionalist, Contemporary, even Googie—but the houses are amazing in their tectonic rigor and spatial amplitude.” The festival this year, includes five films of post-war modern architecture that made Palm Springs, California, the mecca of modernism that it is today. Three of the five films will include a talk with author and historian Alan Hess. To top off the week, guided modern architecture tours will be included, but seats are very limited for the popular tours. The interior design of these homes is as important as the look of the interior. Houston Modern Market Week is also a gathering of the best antique dealers and modernist designers to help you make the right selections for your home.

ing in a Mid Century Modern. You can sense this just by visiting one of them. It awakens an appreciation to architecture and design that has been set aside by decades of cookie cutter design where quality is measured by square footage. Frank Lloyd Wright also said “quality and quantity are not on speaking terms, never can be.” Thankfully, we are beginning to see a return to energy conservation, living in a way that is increasingly green, and more intelligently scaled to family. The smaller Mid Century home is the logical and affordable choice for many families throughout the United States. The communities are typically closer to town and offer a shorter commute to work and to cultural centers. Yet, Houston Mod, a 501c non-profit whose mission is to preserve our modern architecture, says that our heritage of architecture is at a critical juncture. Beautiful and important architecture is falling victim to the bulldozers of development at irreparable cost of heritage and history. Post-war architecture is now a halfcentury old. At this critical age it can be recognized and preserved as a national heritage or just as easily perceived as an old house sitting on a desirable lot and bulldozed down and replaced by a stucco clad condominium project. Organizations like Houston Mod and events like Houston Modern Market Week are bringing education and recognition of good design, art and architecture. As Houston moves forward in the 21st century we must preserve our rich architectural heritage lest we lose our integral identity.

APPRECIATING ASSETS

Stepping into a Mid Century home is like stepping into a time when America was at the height of its industrial might, when space exploration was king in Houston, and cocktail parties were abuzz all over the city. There is a certain feeling one has when liv6

house& home | A p r i l 2 0 1 3 | h o u s e a n d h o m e o n l i n e . com

Brian Hoffner is director of Houston Modern Market Week, April 1522. Learn more about the event at www.HoustonModernMarket.com. Find out about the preservation efforts of Houston Mod at www.HoustonMod.org.


7


Houston Modern Market Week Schedule 2013 Advance ticket purchase recommended. Go to www.HoustonModernMarket.com Preview Party and Market tickets available in advance and at the door. Film and Tour tickets available in advance online sales or at the door until sold out (tickets are limited)

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, APRIL 5 & 6 PREVIEW WEEKEND 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rhythms of Modernism: Paintings from Mid-Century Texas Collector Preview: William Reaves Fine Art, 2313 Brun St., Houston 77019 (free)

SATURDAY, APRIL 6 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

LECTURE: The Challenging Phenomenon of Jermayne MacAgy, Houston Years, 1955-64 Chelby King, instructional assistant and MA candidate, University of Houston, former director, Lawndale Art Center, former director of civic art, Houston Arts Alliance (free) William Reaves Fine Art, 2313 Brun St., Houston 77019

7 to 9 p.m.

Houston MOD House Party Celebrate with Houston Mod as they kick off Mod Month and recognize 10 years of education and advocacy. The evening's venue is a mid-century house designed by architects Lenard Gabert and W. Jackson Wisdom (featured in Houston Architectural Guide). Enjoy small bites, libations, cool tunes and good company. Address: 3007 S. Braeswood, Houston 77025. Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door; benefits Houston Mod

MONDAY, APRIL 15

FILM: DESERT UTOPIA: MIDCENTURY ARCHITECTURE IN PALM SPRINGS Followed by a talk with author, architect, historian, Alan Hess River Oaks Theater, 2009 West Gray, Houston, cocktails and Alan Hess book signing at 6 p.m. (cash bar) ($20, limited seating, advance purchase highly recommended. All proceeds benefit Houston MOD and Design Onscreen). Sponsored by Lewis & Maese Auctioneers and Appraisers

TUESDAY, APRIL 16 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

A talk and book signing with author, architect, historian Alan Hess River Oaks Bookstore, 3270 Westheimer, Houston 77098

7 p.m.

FILM: JOURNEYMAN ARCHITECT: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DONALD WEXLER Followed by a talk with author, architect, historian, Alan Hess River Oaks Theater, 2009 West Gray, Houston, cocktails and Alan Hess book signing at 6 p.m. (cash bar) ($20, limited seating, advance purchase highly recommended. All proceeds benefit Houston MOD and Design Onscreen). Sponsored by Lewis & Maese Auctioneers and Appraisers

WEDNESDAY APRIL 17 An evening with Stephen Fox “Border Modern: Modern Architecture of the Texas-Mexican Border� (free) Lecture by author Stephen Fox at AIA Arch Center Houston, 315 Capitol #120, Houston 77002

7 p.m.

THURSDAY APRIL 18 FILM: WILLIAM KRISEL, ARCHITECT Followed by a talk with author, architect, historian, Alan Hess River Oaks Theater, 2009 West Gray, Houston, cocktails and Alan Hess book signing at 6 p.m. (cash bar) ($20, limited seating, advance purchase highly recommended. All proceeds benefit Houston MOD and Design Onscreen). Sponsored by Lewis & Maese Auctioneers and Appraisers

7 p.m.

FRIDAY APRIL 19 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Houston Modern Market Preview Party, ($50, three-day market pass) Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street, Houston 77007 Put on your best mod chic and enjoy libations, lite bites, live entertainment, socializing, and first chance at shopping the modern treasures before the market opens.

6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Mod Design Lounge with American Society of Interior Designers Texas Gulf Coast Chapter Bring your design dilemmas for creative solution (free with preview party market pass, no appointment required)

8

house& home | A p r i l 2 0 1 3 | h o u s e a n d h o m e o n l i n e . com


7:30 p.m.

Fashion Show

9 p.m.

Silent Auction Ends Winter Street Studios. All sales benefit Houston Mod.

SATURDAY APRIL 20, 2013 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Houston Modern Market ($10, two-day market pass) Shop til you drop Mod booths and artist studios Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street, Houston 77007

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Houston Modern Market Design Tour (free with two day market admission. Reservation required. Obtain a free ticket from the ticket sales page.) Designer from the American Society of Interior Designers Texas Gulf Coast Chapter takes you on a tour of special design objects throughout the market and talks about applications for use in your home or design project.

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mod Design Lounge with American Society of Interior Designers Texas Gulf Coast Chapter Bring your design dilemmas for creative solution (free with market day pass, no appointment required)

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Vintage Car Show (free) Winter Street Studios

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

MOD Picnic with Astroturf and food trucks benefitting Houston Mod, Sponsored by Waste Connections, Inc.

11 a.m.

LECTURE: Designing Domesticity: Industrial Design for Modern Living, 1935-1965 Don Emmite, Author and Lecturer (free with Market admission). Sponsored by Russell Tether Fine Art.

12 Noon

Modern Architecture Tour, Tour A Guided driving tour by Architectural Historian/Enthusiast Jason Smith $35 ticket, limited seating. Departs from Winter Street Studios.

9


1 p.m.

LECTURE: The Silver Gringo: William Spratling and the Revival of Mexican Silver Design Christine Gervais, Associate Curator of Decorative Arts & Rienzi, Museum of Fine Arts Houston (free with Market admission)

3 p.m.

Modern Architecture Tour B Guided driving tour by Architectural Historian/Enthusiast Jason Smith $35 ticket, limited seating. Departs from Winter Street Studios.

4 p.m.

LECTURE: The Emergence of the Houston Art Scene at Mid Century David Brauer, senior lecturer, Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts-Houston (free with market admission)

6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Houston Founders Party, A Celebration Honoring Houston’s Pioneering Mid Century Modern Artists with lite bites and libations at William Reaves Fine Art, 2313 Brun St, Houston 77019 ($20 suggested donation at the door, all proceeds benefit Houston Mod)

8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Charity Auction Party A fun charity auction, in a party like atmosphere, with lite bites, libations, and fun, benefitting Houston Mod. Lewis and Maese Auction House, 1505 Sawyer St, Suite C, Houston 77007 (free)

SUNDAY APRIL 21 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Houston Modern Market ($10, two-day market pass) Shop til you drop Mod booths and artist studios Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street, Houston 77007

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Houston Modern Market Design Tour (Free with two-day market admission. Reservation required. Obtain a free ticket from the ticket sales page) Designer from the American Society of Interior Designers Texas Gulf Coast Chapter takes you on a tour of special design objects throughout the market and talks about applications for use in your home or design project.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mod Design Lounge with American Society of Interior Designers Texas Gulf Coast Bring your design dilemmas for creative solution (free with market day pass, no appointment required)

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

MOD Picnic with Astroturf and food trucks benefitting Houston MOD Sponsored by Waste Connections, Inc

11 a.m.

LECTURE: Interactive Design Workshop: “Less is More” Concept of Design Ariana Smetana, Design Principal/Founder, artVIA | lifestyle design crossroads (free with market admission)

12 Noon

Modern Architecture Tour A Guided driving tour by Architectural Historian/Enthusiast Jason Smith $35 ticket, limited seating. Departs from Winter Street Studios.

1 p.m.

FILM: COAST MODERN: Inspired living by the pioneers of West Coast Modernist Architecture, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Brown Auditorium (tickets available http://www.mfah.org/films/ or at the door)

2:45 p.m.

Art Raffle Winner Presentation Benefits Houston Mod

3 p.m.

LECTURE: A look at Houston’s Modern Architecture through the Houston Architectural Guide, Third Edition by author Stephen Fox, book signing to follow (free with market admission)

5 p.m.

Houston Modern Market closes

MONDAY, APRIL 22 7 p.m.

10

FILM: VISUAL ACOUSTICS: THE MODERNISM OF JULIUS SHULMAN Followed by a talk with film Director Eric Bricker River Oaks Theater, 2009 West Gray, Houston, cocktails at 6pm (cash bar) ($20, Limited seating, Advance purchase tickets highly recommended. All proceeds benefit Houston MOD and Design Onscreen.) Sponsored by Lewis & Maese Auctioneers and Appraisers

house& home | A p r i l 2 0 1 3 | h o u s e a n d h o m e o n l i n e . com

Modern Legacy  

Preserving Houston's Mid Century Modern Homes By Brian Hoffner. Photography by Brian Hoffner and Ben Hill.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you