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Austin 1964!

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified May 23, 2014 01:05 AM
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by bubba of the bubbles (noreply@blogger.com) last modified May 22, 2014



 

 


Preservation Austin held its annual homes tour yesterday, showcasing five mid-century modern homes, and they were fantastic! The houses were all from the 1950s; the 1964 bit in the title of the tour is to point out that 50 years ago, the threshold for historic destination in Austin, fully encompasses mid-century modern.

There were two homes I really wanted to gawk at: An MCM over on 45th street and a trio of apartments by Harwell Hamilton Harris. Sadly, photos were not allowed, so all I have are street shots and whatever I could find on the interwebs.





The stunner IMHO was the Crume House just off 45th street:

my photo

Built in the 1950s (seems to be unclear exactly when...), the house was designed and built by Herbert C. Crume, an architect who graduated from The University of Texas and designed the Mueller Airport. The house is structurally supported by I-beams, has a strong de Stijl feel, and, on the backside, slowly and gorgeously drops off into Shoal Creek. The house is nearly completely original down to the curtains in the master bedroom (the Crumes sold it to the current owners in 2010). The current owners updated the kitchen (and received Mr. Crume's approval as he was there answering questions) and fantastically reworked the landscaping. Lots of glass, lots of brick, and lots of pure loveliness. The photos don't do the place justice.

their photo (J.C. Schmeil)

their photo (J.C. Schmeil)

their photo (J.C. Schmeil)

Harwell Hamilton Harris was part of the second wave of modernists, on the heels of Schindler and Neutra, to grace the California scene. After seeing Schindler and Neutra's Jardinette Apartments under construction in Los Angeles, he sought out the architects at the Schindler-Chace House in Hollywood. He quit school at that point to work with Neutra, even working on details at the Schindler-Chace House for the Neutra's Lovell Health House. Harris worked alongside Gregory Ain in Neutra's practice until 1933 when he and Ain set out for themselves. Schindler's wife, Pauline, was a strong advocate for Harris and his work. From 1952 to 1955, Harris was the dean of the architecture department at The University of Texas before moving his practice to Dallas.

The Harwell Hamilton Harris designed Cranfill-Beacham Apartments (1958) struck me as a homage to the Schindler-Chace House: Raw concrete (albeit block) and redwood. The units are essentially one-bedroom apartments with a two-story living area with the bedrooms on open second-story balconies. Despite their urban (in the middle of town) and awkward (essentially in a backyard) setting, Harris arranged the structure to maximize and engage outdoor space. The apartments are one of the first mid-century modern structures to receive an historic designation in Austin (application here).

my photo

their photo (J.C. Schmeil)

their photo (J.C. Schmeil)


Wrightian low-height entryway (photo via here)

Wrightian low-height entryway (photo via here)

Arthur Fehr was a locally prominent architect who graduated from The University of Texas in 1925. In his early career, during the Great Depression, he worked on the restoration of one of the San Antonio missions and then with the National Park Service. By 1937 he had started his own practice, later teaming up with Charles Granger, and began to be deeply influenced by the work of Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus.

The Fehr House was a house he designed and built for himself circa 1949. Beautifully located on a ridge at the eastern lip of the Hill Country, the back of the house has panoramic views westward over the hills and one of the coolest carports I've ever seen. The house is gorgeous, with the current owners having made a number of modifications to update the house both inside and outside, including an amazingly amazing landscape (something the current owners do professionally as Modern Pools, Inc.). 

my photo

my photo

photo by Paul Bardagjy

photo by Paul Bardagjy

photo by Paul Bardagjy

photo by Paul Bardagjy

photo by Paul Bardagjy

photo by Paul Bardagjy

photo by Paul Bardagjy

photo by Paul Bardagjy

photo by Paul Bardagjy

photo by Paul Bardagjy

photo by Paul Bardagjy

their photo (J.C. Schmeil)

their photo (J.C. Schmeil)

photo of the house just after the current owners bought it

photo by Ezra Stoller for House Beautiful

Roy Earl Dillard attended The University of Texas (with service during WWII in the middle) and graduated in 1949. After working for various firms for several years, he started his own practice in 1955, designing, among many other structures, some 22 churches.

The house he designed and built for himself (and expanded in the sixties) is quite lovely, with head-height hallway windows, open living areas, and comfortable spaces. Dillard, influenced by Neutra but clearly by Frank Lloyd Wright as well (the house has many Usonian attributes), worked out of an office built on the lower level.

The current owners have updated some windows and the landscaping and have a wonderful eye for decorating and art (and have a Marfa Ballroom poster we've been lusting over!).

my photo

their photo (J.C. Schmeil)

their photo (J.C. Schmeil)

their photo (J.C. Schmeil)

MLS photo, before current owners

MLS photo, before current owners

MLS photo, before current owners

their photo (J.C. Schmeil)

The Thorne brothers hired Ronald G. Roessner, a professor of architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, to design a house for each of them on Balcones Drive on the outskirts of town in the 1950s. Newsweek named the first house, later demolished (foundation problems, according to a tour guide), as the House of the Year in 1955. The second house, built in 1956, still exists in its original glory with the new owners planning to restore it (the daughter of the Thornes was hanging out in her old bedroom at the back of the house!). Hopefully the restored house will be on a future tour! 

my photo with an era car out front

their photo (J.C. Schmeil)

via MLS

via MLS

via MLS

via MLS

via MLS

via MLS

via MLS


 

 

 
 
 

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