27 June 2009

In Glen Ellen, a Pig Palace, a Wolf House, and other wonders

Jack and Charmian London at Beauty Ranch (Bancroft Library, University of California)

The hamlet of Glen Ellen, in Sonoma County’s Valley of the Moon, numbers fewer than a thousand inhabitants. In compensation, it is rich in scenic beauty and historic interest. Not the least interesting local resident was Jack London (1876–1916), who first bought land here in 1905. In those days, London was America’s best-known and most highly paid writer. His discovery of Glen Ellen came about through a Berkeley connection.

Read the full story here.

17 June 2009

BAHA 2009 Preservation Awards

Edgar Dorsey Taylor House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009)

The 2009 edition of the BAHA Preservation Awards is online.

This year, the winners’ range of ages and styles is broader than ever. The oldest house was built in 1890, the youngest in 1993. Architectural styles vary from Victorian to ultra-modern, from Arts & Crafts to International Style. Among the honorees are three apartment buildings, a cottage built of Thermotite, a dwelling clad in plywood, and another that used to be plywood-clad but is now partially covered with modular cement panels.

These award-winning projects are a credit to the spirit and ingenuity of their owners, designers, and craftspeople, and an example to us all.

15 June 2009

Rustic Traditions in Southern California’s Mountain Resorts

Eloc Lodge, Idyllwild, CA (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009)

What traits do the resorts of the San Jacinto and San Bernardino Mountains share with the Adirondacks? Log construction, native stone work, and decorative work in twigs, branches, and bark.

Unlike the Adirondack Park—the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, created in 1892 by the State of New York to remain “forever wild”—Southern California’s scenic mountains are administered by a patchwork of federal and state agencies, Indian reservations, and private entities.

Not many of the old Southern California log houses are still standing, but several fine examples can be found in Idyllwild, at the foot of Tahquitz Rock, and Fawnskin, on the northern shore of Big Bear Lake.

See them here.

05 June 2009

If Julia Morgan could see the Berkeley City Club now

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004

What is steel-reinforced concrete? How was the multi-story Berkeley City Club building constructed in these materials? How could it have been completed in only 11 months in 1929-30 without modern construction equipment? Are these ceilings and beams really formed concrete? How were the beautiful columns and ornamental details crafted? Is this building method secure and seismically strong? Could this building and these decorative elements be replicated today?

John Maillard, concrete specialist (JFM Enterprises Inc., Waterproofing and Restoration Services), will address these questions and more at a lecture sponsored by the Landmark Heritage Foundation. 

Free admission.

Monday, 8 June 2009, 7 pm
Berkeley City Club Drawing Room
2315 Durant Ave., Berkeley

(510) 848-7800; (510) 883-9710