Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Favorite Matsumoto

I just love Matsumoto's own house. But this is simply, the most awesome drawing! Obviously the editors of Progressive Architecture Magazine felt the same way about it when they put it on their cover in March 1959. I purchased this magazine for the cover alone.

I have shown this to some of my clients who wanted some new cabinets in their Kansas City house by Matsumoto's partner, David B. Runnells. It is great Mid-Century Modern, period styling!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who is George Matsumoto and what does he have to do with Kansas City?

Name: Matsumoto Residence
Architect: George Matsumoto
Year Designed: circa 1951
Builder: Frank Walser
Year Completed: 1952
Size: Unknown sq. ft. (3 bedroom, 1 bath)
Location: 821 Runnymede Road, Raleigh, North Carolina
Type: Residential
Style: Modern / International Style
Status: Good
Photographer: Joseph W. Molitor

George Matsumoto was a partner with David B. Runnells in Kansas City for one year at the firm Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects. We know that the firm did at least one house and the first new building then called just, "The Art School," for the Kansas City Art Institute, There may have been a Doctors Office done as well. It is unknown if the Doctors Office is still standing and if it was done by all four partners or with Matsumoto alone. Waugh and Matsumoto left the partnership to teach at University of Oklahoma with Henry Kamphoefner. They immediately left Oklahoma to start the new school of design at North Carolina State University in 1948.

The photo above is the house that Matsumoto designed for himself in Raleigh, North Carolina. He won many awards for this design and went on to complete many residential commissions.

The folks over at Triangle Modernist Houses have also done a great job of documenting the career of George Matsumoto in North Carolina. The Matsumoto Tribute from and exhibit they did over at the North Carolina State Library has some good info too. Here is the George Matsumoto Group Pool on Flickr.

Below is and excerpt from from the National Park Service Website about the Matsumoto House
The Matsumoto House is one of several Modernist houses built in Raleigh from the 1940s to the 1960s. These houses were the manifestation of architectural concepts embraced by the faculty of the School of Design, established in 1948 at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University). Dean Henry Kamphoefner recruited several Modernist architects as faculty members, and was instrumental in influencing other Modernists to come to North Carolina to practice. He also brought internationally known architects to the school to lecture and to lead studio workshops. The faculty designed several residences for themselves, other faculty members, or for a small group of clients interested in new ideas in architecture. Built for the most part on relatively ample, wooded suburban lots,located on what then were the outskirts of the city, a key element in most of the designs is a careful integration of the house with its site.

In 1952, faculty member George Matsumoto began construction of his own house on a steeply sloping tract adjacent to a small stream. Its design shows the same attention to economical, post-and-beam modular construction and careful detailing as is seen in his earlier Richter House design. However, the young Japanese American architect was also strongly influenced by the work of Mies Van der Rohe, and the Matsumoto House demonstrates a Miesian concern with exposed structure and a sense of suspension generated by the use of lightweight wall, floor and ceiling planes to articulate its internal space. The sloping site allowed Matsumoto to put a lower level built of concrete block under the house, a space which contained his studio and which forms a base for the frame box cantilevered above it. The rectangular, flat-roofed mass of the main living areas is reached by a small bridge rising from a Japanese-influenced outdoor court. While the street side of the house presents a mostly-blank facade divided into panels, all of the rooms along the back of the house open with glass doors and windows onto a cantilevered, screened rear porch, extending the living space visually into the wooded hillside beyond. The Matsumoto House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.

The Matsumoto House is located at 821 Runnymede Rd. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

James Ingraham Clark Residence by Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects - Architects House Themselves

The James Ingraham Clark Residence won a mention in the P/A (Progressive Architecture) Awards in 1947. Below is an excerpt, including captions, from a Progressive Architecture article in April, 1949, pp 66-69. This is one of a few buildings known to exist from the Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects partnership. The others are the Kansas City Art Institute Art School Building and a possible Doctors Office that may not exist anymore. The first two photos are by Gene Hook all others by Fred Gund.

This is the home of one of the architects – James Ingraham Clark. -- looking south down the slope

House: Leawood, Kansas
Runnells Clark Waugh & Matsumoto Architects

PROGRAM: Suburban residence for a growing family. Space provided under present bedroom wing for duplication of facilities on upper level.

SITE: Land at end of cul-de-sac street; one acre sloping toward the south; stone ledge under most of actual house site.

SOLUTION: Plan organized to turn its back to the street side and open out to the east and south. Design developed to have advantages of prefabrication although built on the side. Ledge proved both solid and flat; hence, prefabricated heating panels and foundations were laid directly on the stone; footings needed under bedroom portion only where rock ledge ran out. Plan worked out on a 4’-1/4” module – the 4’ to take standard sheets of plywood; the ¼” to allow a space between sheets, eliminating any fitting or butting at the joints. Dry construction throughout.


CONSTRUCTION: Framing: wood. Walls: no footings; stone foundations on solid rock; native stone. Interior finishes: Douglas fir plywood; exterior: 5-ply waterproof plywood. Floors: wood sash: double-insulating glazing; glass block (bathroom only). Insulation: acoustical; cement-impregnated wood-fiberboard exposed on ceilings; thermal’ double-thick expansible blanket; flameproof cotton: glass-wool batts: blown-in wool type. Partitions: frame. Surfaced both sides with plywood. Doors: birch-surfaced hollow core; solid flush exterior doors.

EQUIPMENT: Heating: hot-water radiant panel, zoned for three areas; gas-fired boiler; automatic controls; attic fan. Kitchen: electric stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, garbage disposal unit, deep freeze, and exhaust fan. Special equipment: water softener.

front door - (looking south)

view from street (utility rooms, left, bedroom wing, right)

bedroom wing, additional bedrooms to be added later at lower level

view from east (living rooms left, outdoor living, right center, service right

living room and porch (right); glazed stairwell (left)

(first floor plan)

south window of living room and stair hall to bedroom wing

fireplace corner of living room with east porch beyond

master bedroom with cantilevered deck outside southeast window wall

wall between dining area and kitchen

same wall, opened up

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

James Ingraham Clark Residence by Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects

Name: James Ingraham Clark Residence
Architect: Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects
James Ingraham Clark, Project Designer
Year Designed: circa 1947-48
Builder: Don Drummond
Year Completed: circa 1948
Size: Unknown
Location: Leawood, Kansas
(Greater Kansas City Area)
Type: Residential
Style: Modern
Status: Good
Photographer: Gene Hook
Photos scanned from and article excerpted from: The American House Today : 85 Notable Examples Selected and Evaluated by Katherine Morrow Ford and Thomas H. Creighton, Reinhold, 1951, pp 134-135


Built for one of the partners in an architectural firm, this house of the James Ingraham Clarks is planned carefully for expansion as the family grows. It turns away from the street – originally a quite thoroughfare which has since became much more busy, partly because people come to see the house – and faces towards the south and southeast on a sloping site which ends in a wooded creek bed. When the house was built there was one child; now there are two, and family plans are for two more. Hence it was desired that the house could grow both in bedroom accommodations and in living space. Facing the street is a “core” which will not change: utility rooms, kitchens, laundry and garage. Past these rooms as one enters the house is a living room which is at present reasonably large, but certainly not oversized. In the future, as the plan indicates, this room will be extended, and even may have a porch on the end as a final expansion. The solution to the addition of bedrooms is made possible by a steep drop of fifteen feet in the site at the point where the bedroom wing breaks from the main house. Under the present two bedrooms there is now an open terraced space which, can, when the family has grown, be converted into a lower bedroom floor with three rooms. Mr. Clark is thoroughly objective about the value or lack of value of a number of ideas that went in the house. Orientation for sun control, studied mathematically, has worked out excellently. Plans to use a certain amount of site prefabrication – panels constructed on the property and raised into place – did not work so well, because of unfamiliarity of the available labor with this system. There is “nearly too much: storage space in cupboards, drawers and shelves. These are minor troubles, however. In general the dry-wall construction, the acoustic ceilings, the efficient kitchen layout, and the orientation have worked very well.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

REEL Design Film Series starts this Tuesday with Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
KCMODERN has partnered with other members of the Kansas City Design Community including, AIGA, AIA, IDSA, SEGD to assemble exclusive one-night only screenings of some great design films. Each screening will have surprise visits and giveaways. The REEL Design Film Series will be shown at the Tivoli Theater, 4050 Pennsylvania Ave. Kansas City, MO 64111. Tickets for the movies will cost $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Advance tickets are available at: