Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kaufmann Residence as Photographed by the Late Julius Shulman - Modern Photo of the Week

Name: Kaufmann Residence
Architect: Richard Neutra
Year Designed: Circa 1945-46
Builder: Unknown
Year Completed: 1946 (photographed in 1947)
Size: 3162 square feet (5 bedroom 6 baths)
Location: Palm Springs California
Type: Residential
Style: Modern
Status: Excellent
Photographer: Julius Shulman

I thought that I would include this special photo of the week as a tribute to our friend Julius Shulman who died at the age of 98 last week. I would call this his second most famous architectural photo. The most famous photo being the Case Study House #22 Photo. There has been an outpouring of media honoring this talented man in the week since his death. Here is a small sampling.

KCRW Radio Segment
NPR- All Things Considered Radio Segment
NPR- Slide Show
New York Times Article
LA Times Article
LA Times Video


We are all waiting patiently at KCMODERN for season 3 of MEN MEN to start in mid-August.

In the meantime you can pass the time waiting for the new episodes by creating you own swanky MAD MEN caricature of yourself over at MAD MEN YOURSELF. See the caricatures of the entire cast on Flickr and read about the artist Dyna Moe who created the original cast caricatures.

Do You Remember...? The "Spider" House...

How many times did you drive by this house located on the corner of 68th street and Belinder in Mission Hills, KS. Lovingly or not, the house was called the Spider House, the Grasshopper House and perhaps many other names. Located in a mid-century modern "row" of houses on Belinder, and with land values exceeding some house/improvement values, it was sold and demolished a few years ago. I couldn't locate my old photos, never got inside and have no idea who the architect was (I'm sure somebody out there knows) The new home is modern, energy efficient and very nice.
I get nostalgic and appreciative of the original owners desire to build a house of stone and redwood, a novel and exuberant, passive solar design against convention. Definitely a novelty
then..."turn left at the Spider house" could have been a Landmark example of MCM in the community... Note the butterfly roof...the "outriggers" or "legs" of support beams have been removed.
A few days later, I drove by and found the house gone.

As our friend Dr. Jacob Wagner, Professor at UMKC, would say: " from a historical perspective, we'll never know whether it was important unless the demolition process includes surveys and studies to determine if what is being torn down is important. But from a green standpoint it is a symptom of a larger "fabric" issue within a community." KC Modern passionately believes the "Recent Past" and especially mid-century modern design is the most "at risk" architecture today. The Marcel Breuer house just down the street is "at risk" because of real estate market trends. We often take for granted the things we see everyday.

There are still a few great mid-century modern houses on Belinder. We will feature them in the future. Below is a side shot of the Breuer house.