Tagged: yosemite

THE SIMPLE LIFE: DOWN IN BEDROCK

Strong forms and materials challenge comfort and simplicity.   Stunningly simple, heavily understated, this granite bench chills in the inhospitable snow of Yosemite Valley.

The bench is a monument to the geology of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains and the gravitational forces that have scraped, scoured and shoved them for 40 million years in Yosemite Valley, in Hetch Hetchy, and as shown here, in the Emigrant Wilderness.  Harsh,  numbing, forbidding, exhilarating, the bench exhibits an elemental design logic, older than history, appropriate to a Sierra winter or home furnishings for Fred Flintstone.

Strong forms and strong materials have their powerful attractions despite their indifference to human comfort.  While comfort and simplicity remain our guiding goals,  architectural design  is not always about comfort, nor is simplicity always so simple.  An elegant goal, achieving simplicity from the myriad of materials and conditions required for modern construction is frequently a challenging and in this case weighty proposition requiring serious tools and strenuous effort.  Continue reading

MODERNIZING 1921: SCHINDLER CAMPS OUT

Could this design from the Housekeeping Campground Map in Yosemite Valley be the original inspiration for LA architect Rudolf Schindler’s radical home design on King’s Road? (See our post Sun-worshipers and Free-thinkers.)   As Schindler describes it,  the home “… fulfils the basic requirement for a camper’s shelter: a protected back, an open front, a fireplace and a roof…”( ‘A Co-operative Dwelling’ , T-Square, February 1932).

In 1921 amidst the falling oak leaves of September and October Rudolf and wife Pauline  enjoyed an idyllic few weeks in camp shelters in Yosemite Valley.  Having just terminated his employment with Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolf and Pauline planned their modern life and modern home in Los Angeles. Four independent and  utilitarian studios conjoined in a communal relationship would provide a background for work and play.  They would be joined in this experimental four-plex by housemates and friends Clyde and Marian Chace.  Continue reading