Pasadena Heritage will highlight Modern residential architecture on its 35th anniversary Spring Home Tour, AMERICAN MODERN: USC Style and Beyond to be held on Sunday, March 25, 2012, sponsored by Deasy/Penner & Partners and co-sponsored by The Capital Group Charitable Foundation, Kelly Sutherlin McLeod Architecture, Inc., Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau and Meyler & Company Locations. Though more rare in Pasadena, wonderful examples of these hidden gems can be found scattered throughout the city. Featured homes were designed by local graduates and teachers from the School of Architecture, University of Southern California and by architects trained elsewhere.
The Cultural Resources of the Recent Past Historic Context Report for the City of Pasadena, prepared by Historic Resources Group and Pasadena Heritage in October of 2007, states “The term “Pasadena” or “USC style” Modernism was coined by architectural historian Esther McCoy, and reflects the profound impact that graduates of the University of Southern California School of Architecture, many of whom lived and worked in Pasadena, had on the architectural landscape of the region. The Pasadena style reflects the unique combination of factors that contributed locally to the City’s postwar architecture, and is best summarized by historian Alson Clark: The postwar Pasadenans managed to combine, successfully, creatively, the post-and-beam rationalism which ultimately came from Neutra, the Arts-and-Crafts tradition of Wright and the Greenes, and the high standards of design and technique perpetuated here by architects like Myron Hunt, Reginald Johnson and Roland Coate into a fresh, convincing expression of residential architecture.”
The Buff, Straub & Hensman-designed Thomson house, featured on this year’s tour, is one of the great examples of the USC Style of architecture. This house is of post-and-beam construction and beautifully blends outdoor and indoor spaces with the use of patios and glass. Other featured homes will include the deSteiguer House designed by Harwell Hamilton Harris in 1936 and moved to its current location by Leland Evison in 1951. Harris and Evison both have ties to USC. Harris was a lecturer in the 1940s and Evison attended USC in the 1920s. Both the Thomson House and deSteiguer House are part of the Poppy Peak historic district that has recently been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Also on the tour will be a Park Planned Homes designed by Gregory Ain in 1947-1948 in neighboring Altadena. It is part of a unique grouping of mirror-image homes that comprise a single residential block. Ain also taught at USC from 1949 – 1960.
Also featured are homes designed by architects who received their degrees outside of California contrast to the USC Style. Harold Zook and John Galbraith received architectural degrees from Cornell University and the University of Washington, Seattle, respectively. Harold Zook’s 1951 home makes wonderful use of glass that seamlessly merges the house and landscape with access to the outdoors from every room in the house. The Cox House, designed by Galbraith in 1959, is a wonderful example of Southern California’s indigenous Modernism that combines the European International Style with natural materials to create a specific regional architecture.
Tour houses will be open on Sunday, March 25th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Guests drive themselves to the five homes where trained docents will relate information about the architect, the homes, and their original owners.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the Pasadena Heritage office at (626) 441-6333 or online at www.pasadenaheritage.org . Ticket prices: $40/$335 for PH Members, $42 day of the event.