Residential Design

Vol 1, 2018

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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of the eclectic layering of time: "Noémi's modern furniture and textile patterns next to the 19th-century antiques from her family home in upstate New York or those [they] found in Bucks County, or on their travels through China, India, Mex- ico, interspersed with their own artwork and that of friends and master craftsmen." Whitaker ended his presentation with an image of Antonin and Noémi sharing a meal on the terrace of the Kôgai-chô Studio they built for themselves in Nishi-Azabu district of Tokyo, shortly after their return to Japan in 1949. There, they reestablished their offices, successfully taking on more than 250 projects in the post–war years. Each summer they would return to the Raymond Farm to be with family. In the 1970s, they would retire there, their work and partnership having spanned more than 62 years. The Group Discussion I moderated the discussion that followed, starting with the observation that Schindler, Neutra, and the Raymonds all embraced the European avant-garde's advancement toward pure abstraction, while Wright, as evidenced by his Imperial Hotel, Hollyhock House, and Textile-Block Houses of the same time, seemed to be doubling down on the idea of an architecture of "integrated ornament." Then I posed the question to the panel, "Just what set these European-born American architects and designers apart from their contemporaries?" Bergdoll, Sheine, Whitaker, and Lamprecht agreed that these architects were very aware of the avant-garde work on the Continent—in fact, their ambition and belief in the movement compelled them to innovate to stay ahead—but working with Wright and experiencing his work first-hand had set them on a different path. While these archi- tects banished all ornament from their work, they advanced the abstract form/space that was Wright's great innovation. What also remained was Wright's near-spiritual understand- ing of nature, landscape, and dwelling within it. Sheine and Lamprecht credited the mild California climate, dramatic terrain, and bohemian lifestyle for freeing Schindler and Neutra to experiment with spatial and psycho- logical relationships more radically than Wright was capable of at the time. Wright would leap ahead in his seminal works in the 1930s, '40s, and into the '50s, but in many ways he was building upon lessons learned from his two West Coast protégés. I then pointed out that the Raymonds understood that the Japanese already had a profound relationship with nature. For the Raymonds, modern architecture was a means of returning to nature and turning away from the corrupting Western colonial architecture that invaded Japan in the sec- ond half of the 19th century. "After Wright" symposium speakers in group discussion at the Raymond Farm Center in New Hope, Pa. These architects were responding to the particular places and cultures where they were building. Their work was spe- cific to their sites and climates—it was regional, not universal. Schindler, Neutra, and the Raymonds saw modern architec- ture not as a zeitgeist of a new technological society—as many of their European contemporaries theorized—but as part of human expression, one that places us fully in the world. All these factors combined as they searched for and created their own responsive modern architecture, and contributed to what would become known in the '40s and '50s as Regionalism, in the 1980s and '90s as Critical Regionalism, and the Sustain- ability movement we see in global architecture today. John DeFazio, AIA, is an architect and planner, and director of the Raymond Farm Center for Living Arts & Design. He teaches at Drexel University in Philadelphia and at New York Institute of Technology in New York City. "After Wright: Pathfinders of Regionalism" was organized and hosted by the Raymond Farm Center, co-organized with the AIA New York Cultural Facilities Committee, and assisted by the Center for Architecture + Design of Philadelphia. It was sponsored by AIA CRAN. The Raymond Farm Center for Living Arts & Design is a non-profit based in New Hope, Pa., at the former studio/home of the designer-architects Noémi and Antonin Raymond. In addition to our mission of preserving and revitalizing the historic structures that make up the Raymond Farm, the Raymond Farm Center is a forum in art, architecture, design, and culture, and an artist-in-resi- dency, serving the Bucks County community and the greater Philadelphia/New York region. Photo: Courtesy Stuart Narofsky, AIA /CRAN 63 VOL. 1, 2018 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM

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