Page C1.1 . 05 December 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department
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The Blacker House of Greene & Greene

by Randell L. Makinson, Hon. AIA, Thomas A. Heinz, AIA, and Brad Pitt

In the Blacker House of 1907, architects Charles and Henry Greene developed and brought forward the full thrust of their new and highly refined timber style to create what became the largest and most elaborate of their wooden masterworks.

Here they demonstrated the fundamental concepts of their Arts and Crafts philosophy: the provision of shade and shelter in a hot arid climate, free cross-circulation of air, and an open relationship between house and garden. This applied equally well to the large estate and to the modest bungalow, as manifested by the compatibility of the scale of the main Blacker House with the three outbuildings.

The Greenes designed a long timbered porte cochere that angled from the central entry and was supported by a massive clinker-brick pier in the island of the grand circular drive.

The Structure

To Greene & Greene, it was important that the fundamental nature of the structure and the materials be honestly expressed on both the exterior and interior.

The feature that had impressed the brothers in the design of the Japanese Pavilion at the Chicago World Columbian Exposition in 1893 was the straightforward expression of the component parts of the structure the posts, beams, rafters, and skin (the wall panels) used frankly. The inherent qualities of each part of the construction brought to the design its own appropriate color, texture, and rhythm.

This article is an excerpt from Greene & Greene: The Blacker House, excerpted with permission by Gibbs Smith, Publisher.   >>>



ArchWeek Image

The Blacker House by Greene & Greene has an east-facing living room terrace. It overlooked the lake and garden pergola before the land was subdivided in 1948.
Photo: Thomas A. Heinz, AIA

ArchWeek Image

The main hall with original furniture on loan from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Photo: Thomas A. Heinz, AIA


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