My first submersion in Charles Rennie Mackintosh of Glasgow, was at a special exhibit at the Museum of the Arts & Crafts Movement in St. Pete Florida. It was astonishing to see many of the actual items that I had seen in books, only inches from my nose. The life & beauty of each one was overwhelming.
I had known little about the Glasgow School before attending the exhibit. It is an integral part of Mackintosh’s story both in his formative years & later, as his work, when he was commissioned to design the new building for the school.
Like many masters of the movement, Mackintosh had full control over every aspect of the buildings he designed- the structure itself, the furnishings, the art & even the tableware of the tearooms. In this exhibit I was able to view examples of all of them.
The exhibit also introduced me to his wife, Margaret Macdonald both muse & gifted artist. Their marriage was one of equality & romance & together they produced beautiful, innovative works of art. Of her, Mackintosh stated, “Remember, you are half if not three-quarters of all my architectural talents. Margaret has genius. I have only talent.”
Curator’s Perspective: Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Cutting-Edge Tearoom Designs (1:08:33)
Frist Art Museum
Should you find yourself one day, feeling a little dumpish, & in need of inspiration, watch this video. It is a curated tour of the Charles Rennie Macintosh exhibit I was so fortunate to have seen at the museum. I had zoomed home, eager to know more about Macintosh & up popped this video. It rounded out the experience beautifully! It has a long intro. You might want to start watching at 00:10:00.
1/3 Charles Rennie Mackintosh – A Modern Man (:15:00)
A comprehensive look at the influences, the career & the art of Mackintosh, of Glasgow. The following 2 sections of the videos flow into one another.
TIP: For the complete Arts & Crafts experience, watch the videos about the Greene Brothers HERE!
“Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders’ spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to environment, married to the ground.”
Frank Lloyd Wright, architect
Rather than trying to compose an educational post, I have curated this group of videos on Wright for 3 reasons, the main one being that no one explains Wright’s philosophy & work with more clarity than the man himself.
#2, nothing expresses his genius better than the buildings themselves. (How could you use words to describe Fallingwater? I stammer in my head just considering it!)
#3.These students & scholars of Wright possess 1,000 times more information & insight that I do & they have produced fascinating footage, including tours of his most iconic buildings, that will both inform & intrigue you. I spent a couple afternoons watching these videos & feel that I now understand this complex genius. My appreciation of his work has soared!
HEARING THE WORDS OF WRIGHT & SEEING HIS GENIUS BROUGHT TO LIFE
Frank Lloyd Wright: America’s Greatest Architect? | The Man Who Built America (59:33)
Timeline – World History Documentaries
This video is narrated by a Welsh architect who explores the influence of Wright’s Welsh background as he travels across the United States, visiting homes FLW designed & built. His commentary allows us to deeply understand the influences & philosophy that guided Wright’s eye & hand.
A Conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright (30:59)
An interview in 1953 with Hugh Downs about Wright’s thoughts on American life & architecture. As always, Wright’s words are powerful & illuminating.
Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School (53:15)
This charming video features a soliloquy critiquing the architecture of the time, seguing into his design philosophy. Delivered in Wright’s own words, it is a charming peek into his brilliance & arrogance.
TIP: I have many beautifully done videos on my playlist from how to repair windows to the history of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Watch themHERE!
Brothers Charles & Henry Greene can be understood as men through the study of their Arts & Crafts architecture. As with all artists, their creations were born of their unique viewpoints of life, tempered by their educations, their personal relationships & professional experiences, & the cultures & technologies of their times.
At the same time, each creative expression contributes to the personal evolution of the individual. You can see this clearly in studying the works of any artist over their lifetime. The viewpoint does not remain stagnant, as evidenced by the often radical changes in style over the course of the artist’s career.
For an architect the quantity of these in-flowed influences is magnified by their medium- clients, contractors, topography, tradespeople, materials, climate & cost overruns, oh my! Each of these leave their mark on the soul.
These videos are about the most well-known works of the Greene’s. I believe this medium with their virtual, docented tours to be the next best way of experiencing & understanding any piece of architecture. They tell the story of the Brothers Greene through the magnificent Arts & Crafts architecture that they designed.
THE VIDEOS- Charles & Henry Green Arts & Crafts architecture
Though I am an admirer of the Brothers Greene, I am not an expert, nor a scholar, nor do I have sophisticated video capabilities so I prefer to let them do the teaching & they do it exceedingly well.
Arts & Crafts architecture of Greene & Greene including The Gamble House, CALIFORNIA episode (3:03)
Craft in America
A short video with some beautiful shots expressing how the California lifestyle influenced the design of the house.
A Portal – the Gamble House front door (9:50)
The Gamble House x
Jennifer Trotoux, Director of Collections & Interpretation, gives an overview of the artistry and construction of the front door of the Gamble House. Wherever you are, you will be transported to the entry of the house & learn so much about the design & the crafting of this beautiful portal.
The Thorson House Tour- A Greene & Greene Ultimate Bungalow (19:16)
The Wood Whisperer
A close look at the many refined & delicate details through which the Brothers Greene, took items of utility & made them things of beauty, including their version of recessed lighting!
Greene & Greene’s Bungalow for Robert Blacker (10:44)
A short history of the Greene Brothers & some images of the Blacker House.
Two Sides of the Pacific: Japan and the Architecture of Greene & Greene (1:18:15)
Looking at Japan through the lens of the Brothers Greene, a fascinating talk by Edward R. Bosley, Executive Director of The Gamble House on the influence of Japanese design on Charles & Henry & the reception of their work in Japan.
I invite you all to visit the Gamble House at your earliest opportunity. Sign up for their mailing list so you can stay informed of their wonderful array of activities.
Most people don’t know about preservation architects & how the hiring of one can save you headaches, time & money.
How many times have you been house hunting, out for a Sunday drive, or just looking at images of houses online & been dismayed by choices made by folks wanting to “improve” their bungalows? These choices can include:
-Adding an attached garage- a triple one!
-Doubling the house’s size in a variety of strange configurations.
-Cladding the front exterior in marble (only the front, mind you. Marble’s ‘spensive!)
-Adding trim or features appropriate to other style periods, Victorian gingerbread being my favorite. I always feel like the bungalows are embarrassed to be wearing all this “fancy stuff.”
To be fair, I have also seen homeowners attempt period sensitive renovations, but due to a lack of understanding of the history & philosophy of the period, spend thousands of $$$, only to fail abysmally. Given that most of them also lack basic construction knowledge, not to mention building code intricacies, I’m going to make a bold suggestion- Maybe next time they should contact a historic preservation architect before they remuddle their poor, defenseless bungalow.
For those lucky enough to live in a historic district, such an architect will help you comply with the local regs as well as basic building codes & still get what you need to satisfy your tastes & lifestyle requirements. A good, experienced old house architect will be able to refer you to contractors who understand preservation & they can hook you up with the materials that you need. A preservation architect will understand everything about your historic bungalow & will be able to teach you a great deal.
BEST PRESERVATION PRACTICES
Best preservation practices are laid out in the The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. Though it sounds grand, scholarly & scary, it is actually a common sense guide to rehabilitating any cultural/historic structure, including your bungalow. Developed for registered buildings, it applies to any project aimed at preserving a property’s significance, providing guidance on the procedures, methods & materials to do so. These guidelines form the basis of historic district regulations all over the U.S.
The National Park Service, a section of the Department of the Interior, states that a historic preservation architect is “a specialist in the science and art of architecture with specialized advanced training in the principles, theories, concepts, methods, & techniques of preserving prehistoric & historic structures,” i.e., The Standards.
HOW DO YOU HIRE THE BEST PRESERVATION ARCHITECT FOR YOUR PROJECT?
1. Educate yourself on the history & design of your house. Even when hiring a pro, the more you know, the better your project will turn out. I always suggest Jane Powell’s books on bungalows because she’s done all the hard research & the photo’s are beautiful! A good place to start is BUNGALOW: The Ultimate Arts & Crafts Home. If this one merely whets your appitite, there are 5 more on various bungalow topics, each one more informative & fun than the last.2. Familiarize yourself with the 10 points listed in the Introduction to the Standards.3. As much as possible, have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your changes- reconstruct its features to return it to its original charm & character, add living space, increase its livability. Have a clean-ly stated purpose.4. Check your state preservation trust or other preservation websites for their lists of architects. I’ll be doing profiles of architects, but I certainly won’t be covering all of them! What I will do is the cover the most important points about each architect so that you can have a better idea of what you should be looking for in hiring one to design changes to your bungalow.5. Study their website & reviews, looking for training & credentials, awards, images of their work & happy clients.
Decide on a budget, the more itemized the better.6. Select 3 to interview. Some charge for interviews, so ask if there is a fee.
7. Be sure ask about & meet the person who would directly manage your project. Inquire as to their credentials & qualifications & ask about their availability. Ask for references on that particular architect on similar projects and check them. Drive around & look at their work.
8. Ensure that you understand everything in their proposal.
9. Feel confident with the firm & the architect before proceeding.