Tag Archives: design

Sculptor’s Outstanding Mid-Century-Modern Exemplar Awaits in Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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Mid-Century architectural exemplar in Beverly Hills recently came on the market and was designed by sculptor Morris Levine as his personal residence in 1964. According to a 2006 LA Times article, Levine received no formal architectural training, yet designed “at least half a dozen apartment buildings in Southern California,” as well as two churches on an island in the South Pacific where he was stationed during World War II.

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The artist lived for forty years in his custom-built Beverly Hills home and passed away in 2004 at age 90. Set on a large, private lot, this hidden 3,480-square-foot retreat lists many original details including terrazzo floors, milled cedar ceilings and walls, custom storage, an open family room, 4 Bedrooms, 4 baths, plus a home office (or 5th bedroom) with a separate entrance, with a large, solar-heated swimmer’s pool, and a landscaped back yard. Great location convenient to downtown Beverly Hills and the Valley. It’s a museum-quality home for the architectural enthusiast.

Want it? $3.25 million.

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LAMBORGHINI HURACÁN LP610-4 — 0 To 62 MPH In 3.2 Seconds With Style

The wait has ended for Lamborghini’s replacement of the Gallardo: Introducing the Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4, a modern beauty in sheet metal .

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The Huracán replaces Lamborghini’s best-selling model ever, as what is wily referred to as the “entry-level” supercar in the lineup. Unlike most firm’s entry-level offerings, there’s nothing economical about the Huracán, though. While there is no price published yet, some of the auto press expect the Huracán to start at more than $250,000.

The name was a bit off-putting to some: Huracán is Spanish for hurricane, and is the name of the Mayan god of wind, storm, and fire.

Seems appropriate for a supercar, but some fans were upset that Lambo  seemingly abandoned its tradition of naming cars after fighting bulls.

Not to worry. According to Lamborghini, Huracán was also a bull that fought in Alicante in 1879. With its triple meaning of storm, Mayan god, and raging bull, this might be the best Lambo car name ever.

The car itself is simply stunning.

There’s not much to criticize about the styling, blending elements of the Aventador and Sesto Elemento into a gorgeous package. The phrase “looks like a jet fighter” gets used a lot … but the Huracán actually looks like a jet fighter. Since it’s not as wide as the massive Aventador, it’ll probably be easier to maneuver like one, too.

Powering the Huracán is a 5.2-liter direct-injected V10 with 610 horsepower – hence the LP610-4 designation – and about 413 pound-feet of torque. Coupled to a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission called “Lamborghini Doppia Frizione” (LDF) and all-wheel drive, it will hurl the Huracán from 0 to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds, to 124 mph in 9.9 seconds, and on to a top speed of over 200 mph.

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Design Competition II: 2014 Mercedes C-Class & Audi A4

For 2014, Mercedes is on the attack against fellow German auto manufacturers. The newest iteration of the C-Class is an excellent salvo launched in this effort. Audi soldiers on another year with the recently refreshed mid-sized sedan: A4. Each represents its parent company’s design and product philosophies very well. Which has best executed with a future-oriented design befitting a discerning customer base?

As said in my CLA-A3 comparison, I’ve been an Audi client for fifteen years, though I have owned a BMW during that time as well, but it was always Audi that captured my design preference: understated sophistication, refined sports performance, and pursuit of engineering heights.

And again, as I said in the prior design comparison, this Audi fan thinks that Mercedes may have just taken the lead.

The C-Class, a new interpretation of mid-sized European luxury, is beautifully designed, clearly high end without being ostentatious, and deftly balancing luxury and European sportiness — just as stated with the CLA. The Audi A4 is, as was said of the A3, competently designed, eminently recognizable, and not at all offensive. But, the Audi is also derivative of all its prior designs, un-stimulating, and a bit dull.

What are your thoughts from a design perspective? Who succeeded better: Mercedes with the new C-Class or Audi with the A4?

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For My Preference: Mercedes Has Again Taken The Lead From Audi… with a design that is at once highly sophisticated but also sporty and quite European. Mercedes has presented  a refined, dynamic design that stimulates. Audi Dead in The Water with an outdated and derivative A4 design, but it particularly fails in the interior design with a pedestrian and decidedly middle-class cabin more at home in a Chevrolet Impala (prior to its recent dynamic makeover). The Mercedes C-Class interior is nothing short of stunning.

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Design Competition: 2014 Mercedes CLA & Audi A3 Sedan

For 2014, both Mercedes and Audi have new entrants into the burgeoning lineup of high end smaller cars. Each represents its parent company’s design and product philosophies very well. Which has best executed with a future-oriented design befitting a discerning customer base?

I’ve been an Audi client for fifteen years, though I have owned a BMW during that time as well, but it was always Audi that captured my design preference: understated sophistication, refined sports performance, and pursuit of engineering heights.

And this Audi fan thinks that Mercedes may have just taken the lead.

The CLA, a brand new entrant into the auto world, is beautifully designed, clearly high end without being ostentatious, and deftly balancing luxury and European sportiness. The Audi A3 Sedan is competently designed, eminently recognizable, and not at all offensive. But, the Audi is also derivative of all its prior designs, un-stimulating, and a bit dull. In fact, the new A3 can be accurately said to be the contemporary version of my first Audi, a 1998 A4.

What are your thoughts from a design perspective? Who succeeded better: Mercedes with the CLA or Audi with the new A3 Sedan?

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For My Preference: Mercedes Has Taken The Lead… with a fresh design that redefines the company and sets the tone for a barrier-breaking and resurgent Mercedes. The Audi A3 is a very nice design, but we’ve seen it before. In fact we see it on every sedan Audi builds. It’s the same design, just upscaled or downscaled. Over the last fifteen years panel creases may have gone from softer to crisper, but it’s really just the same basic design. Nice, but that’s about it. And soon… it will be cliche.

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Ettley Residence — Modernism Taken To Its Beautiful Conclusion

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The Ettley residence, in Los Angeles CA, is a study in solid-void relationships. The design is an example I often cite as the proper answer to modernism’s logical conclusion, as opposed to the vapid white box of too many designers and architects. For while the design does eliminate superfluous elements of “styling” and ornamentation, this home deftly blends material, texture, and color to stimulate visually and avoid the dullsville of the blank white facade.

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The Aluminum and wood enclosure/awning over the blue glass — appearing like blocks of frozen blue Pacific ocean — juxtapose against the solid wood boxes, giving an appearance of a modern seaside sculpture. Situated a few blocks from the ocean, the up-sloping lot provides commanding views of the water while providing a cityscape foreground to the setting. The master suite located at the mid level front has a glass floor seating area that overlooks a reflecting pond and garden below.

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A vertical bamboo garden is surrounded by horizontal wood slats continuing up through the structure and providing privacy to the master and the main living spaces at the top level.

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Studio 9one2 has become known for it’s particularly interesting staircases, with the majority of beach houses in the LA area designed as inverted plans with the living spaces at the top level in order to achieve the best ocean views. As a result, both visitors and occupants alike utilize the stair system quite often. Studio 9one2 always strives to make those normally mundane trips into sculptural experiences. This home with its “Esher-esque” stairs and glass floor landings continues their trend.

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Clear Lake Cottage by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects

 

 

Modern Enclave At Peace By A Lake In The Woods

…Works for me : )

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Your 1957 Dream House Made Real — Alcoa “Care-Free” Home

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In January 1957 the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) announced the formation of a “Residential Building Products Sales Division” to facilitate expansion into new uses for aluminum in home-building. U.S. Steel similarly explored modern home architecture in California’s famous Case Study House Program. To jump-start sales in this new division, Alcoa announced they would be sponsoring the construction of 50 “Care-Free” aluminum model homes priced under $25,000. The company’s stated aim was to create a lower maintenance home and achieve the “greatest change in residential building materials in centuries.”

Alcoa hired east-coast architect Charles M. Goodman to design the “Care-Free” home; the standard model was post and beam construction with 1,900 square feet of living space, including 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. The design integrated 7,500 lbs of colorful aluminum details throughout the house, including large aluminum framed windows and its signature purple siding and blue window grilles.

By the end of 1957, approximately 24 of the Alcoa “Care-Free” homes were completed across the US. Unfortunately for Alcoa, they never made it to the planned 50 model homes; U.S. Steel’s house program met a similar fate, and as with U.S. Steel, the final cost of these aluminum homes was much higher than anticipated, nearly twice as much.

Still, these beautiful homes make excellent examples of the future-oriented, innovative approaches to home development sought in the post-world-war years. For modernists, they are fetching eye candy.

A Resurrected Classic Alcoa Care-Free Home

Steven Plouffe and Michael Linsner have kept the original purple color on the outside of their Alcoa Care-free Home by Charles Goodman near Rochester, NY. Designed by architect Charles Goodman, it was built in 1957 by Fred P. DeBlase.

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Alcoa Presents “Care-Free Home”

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The Original “Care-Free Home”

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Care-Free Home Architect, Charles M. Goodman

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Additional Information and Sources:

The complete Alcoa Care-Free Home sales brochure can be seen here

For The Better Homes and Gardens article on the Alcoa homes click here

More photos by the current owners of the Brighton, NY home can be seen here

Follow the St. Louis Park home renovations on Our Care-Free Home

For a St Louis Park Historical Society article on the Alcoa aluminum house click here

For images and information on another Alcoa home located in Perrysburg, OH click here

For various old newspaper articles about the Alcoa Care-Free project click here

For more on architect Charles M Goodman click here and here

For the Charles M Goodman Flickr group click here