02 January 2006

Building with Nature: Inspiration for the Arts & Crafts Home

Lecture & book signing by Leslie Freudenheim
Friday, 10 February 2006
7:30 pm
First Church of Christ, Scientist

2619 Dwight Way at Bowditch Street, Berkeley

Reception to follow
Tickets: $15

This new edition of the classic Building with Nature: Roots of the San Francisco Bay Region Tradition focuses on the beginnings (1865 and on) of the California Shingle and California Mission Style Arts & Crafts houses, and the origins of the trend toward building simple rustic homes in harmony with nature. Some of the key players in this drama were Bernard Maybeck, Willis Polk, Ernest Coxhead, A.C. Schweinfurth, John Galen Howard, Julia Morgan, Charles Keeler, William Keith, Bruce Porter, and their “wizard” mentor, the Swedenborgian minister Joseph Worcester. The cast of characters also include eminent figures on the national scene, such as Daniel H. Burnham, Frederick Law Olmsted, John Muir, and William Randolph Hearst.

Building with Nature: Inspiration for the Arts and Crafts Home presents some revolutionary ideas, including exciting new material that places California in the forefront of the Arts & Crafts movement. It shows how ┬áthe architectural development of San Francisco’s Russian Hill and widespread interest in William Morris and John Ruskin subsequently influenced Berkeley’s architecture via Olmsted, Polk, Coxhead, Maybeck, Howard, Morgan and the Hillside Club. The book also features Berkeley’s First Unitarian Church with its tree-trunk columns and the San Francisco Swedenborgian Church, now a National Landmark and an Arts & Crafts icon. The author shows how the Swedenborgian Church’s Mission-style chairs provided the model for several lines of Mission-style, Stickley and Craftsman furniture popular once again today. Freudenheim suggests that the Arts & Crafts “simple home” spread from the Bay Area to Pasadena and Los Angeles and then nationwide, promoted heavily by Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman and by other magazines.

Building with Nature can be purchased at the BAHA bookstore. Call (510) 841-2242 or e-mail us for shipping information. The book is also available for purchase online from the publisher, Gibbs Smith, or from Amazon.

In her lecture, Leslie Freudenheim will talk about her discoveries and examine how Joseph Worcester and his circle encouraged less materialism through architecture that complemented a simpler life in tune with nature, inspired by vernacular architecture in Yosemite and worldwide. Freudenheim will quote letters from Joseph Worcester, Daniel H. Burnham, Bernard Maybeck, William Morris, Frederick Law Olmsted, and John Muir, and illustrate her lecture with rare historic images.

A reception will follow the talk, with refreshments and book signing.

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