Arts and Crafts Style Architecture
Written May 18, 2010 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Architecture
, Arts and Crafts Style
If you take a walk through the older neighborhoods of any American town, you are likely to see examples of homes whose designs were inspired by Arts and Crafts style architects. The Arts and Crafts architectural movement was a philosophy of design that influenced not only architects, but furniture makers, artisans and domestic handicrafts as well. Begun as a response to the mechanization and mass production of the Industrial revolution, followers of the Arts and Crafts movement promoted the value of natural materials, skilled craftsmanship, economy of form and honest expression without applied ornamentation.
A covered porch at the Gamble House, designed by Greene and Greene Architects.
The Arts and Crafts movement began in Britain in the mid to late 1800′s, and came to America just before the turn of the century. One of the first Americans to adopt the principles was Gustav Stickley, the well known furniture designer. Considered the founder of the Craftsman style (a descendant of the Arts & Crafts Style), Stickley was highly influential in spreading the philosophy of Arts and Crafts through his periodical “The American Craftsman”. He emphasized simple, clean lines, exposed artful joinery, the virtues of handcrafting, and unadorned natural materials.
Chair designed by Gustav Stickley
Besides creating elegant furniture, Stickley partnered with the architect Harvey Ellis to create popular Bungalow style home designs that were published in catalogs and became widely known as craftsman style bungalows. Some of the hallmarks of the craftsman bungalow were:
- Low to medium slope roofs with deep overhangs, usually hipped or gabled
- Exposed rafters and rafter tails on the exterior
- Covered front porches with large square or tapered columns on stone or brick bases
- Prominent stone or brick chimneys
- Timber brackets supporting roof overhangs
- One or one and a half stories, with attic living space and dormers
- Open plan
- Wood beam ceilings and dark wood wainscot and mouldings
- Built-in cabinets, shelves, seating, and sometimes furniture
In the early part of the 20th century, complete bungalow home kits could be bought from catalogs, including Sears and Roebuck. Many US cities and towns have older neighborhoods full of these “modern” homes.
In the Pasadena area of Southern California, two brothers, architects Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, took the bungalow and the Arts and Crafts philosophy to extremes in their stick style homes. Every detail of these homes was meticulously designed and crafted, featuring beautiful exposed timber connections, lots of native wood, and indigenous stone on the exterior. Greene & Greene’s work has become iconic as the ultimate expression of Arts & Crafts ideals in home design, where the home is a complete work of art with every detail and furnishing designed by the architect.
The architects Greene and Greene were known for their detailed Arts and Crafts style homes.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School style homes are also based on principles of the Arts & Crafts movement. One of America’s most famous architects, Wright developed a unique style that drew from many of the ideas of the Arts & Crafts movement, including open plans, emphasis on natural materials and connection to the environment, forms inspired by nature, and lots of wood built-ins. Wright’s organic style was an inspiration to many American architects, and many of his homes are still considered fine examples of Arts and Crafts philosophy in practice.
Interior of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater
A contemporary of Wrights, architect Bernard Maybeck, designed many homes in the Arts and Crafts tradition, most of them in the hills above Berkeley, California. Maybeck had an eclectic style and whimsical nature, often mixing modern design with classical details. He was adamant about letting the building materials and quality craftsmanship be the ornamentation, and typically used carefully detailed redwood as both interior and exterior cladding. Some elements of the shingle style are evident in his designs.
A Bernard Maybeck Arts & Crafts Style Home
Because of its enduring appeal and continued popularity, many architects still design using principles and forms that emerged during the Arts and Crafts movement. The Craftsman style and Prairie style were two of these Arts & Crafts siblings. Others included later versions of the Shingle style, Adirondack and Swiss Chalet styles (which all also had various influences on the Mountain architectural style), and to a lesser extent the Eclectic styles of the Tudor and French Eclectic (and it’s cousins the Cotswald Cottage and the less rigid Storybook style).
The beauty of natural materials, quality craftsmanship, thoughtful design, and honest expression are still valued today, as is the connection many people feel with these iconic building styles. As new materials emerge and styles evolve, the look of buildings will inevitably change. However, the influence the Arts and Crafts movement had on American domestic architecture will continue to be evident in the design of our homes for many years to come.
Tom Russell, LEED AP, and John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture designs Arts and Crafts inspired mountain homes and cabins throughout the United States. Visit our portfolio for examples of some of our recently completed custom projects. If you are interested in an Arts & Crafts style home, or you have any other inquiries, please contact us.
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Previous Post: Stone Cladding Options
Stone Cladding Options
Written May 9, 2010 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Mountain Architecture
Stone has been used throughout history on buildings of many styles as a cladding material. Until relatively recent times it was used for structural applications in foundations and wall construction. In modern construction, stone is used primarily as a cladding option to cover less attractive structural substrates. Stacked stone isn’t a good structural material. It can support a lot of weight, but because it is difficult to reinforce with steel, it is notoriously bad at surviving earthquake events, and thus doesn’t meet the strict requirements that architects must meet in modern building codes.
Stone accents on a Grand Canyon ranger station help give the building a bold appearance.
Architects use stone on building exteriors to create a sense of permanence and solidity. Drawing from the historical precedent of stacked stone building foundations, stone veneer is often used around the base of a building to visually anchor it to the land. Stone is also commonly used on fireplaces, chimneys, column bases, planters, landscape elements and even as an interior wall finish.
Stone cladding (also called stone veneer) is available in many forms. Many historic and modern style buildings use cut stone slabs as a wall finish material. Similar to the slabs used for making counter-tops, this type of stone cladding is used to create a refined look with clean, straight lines. In the nature themed mountain style homes we design at Hendricks Architecture, stone veneer is used in a more rustic application. Stacked stone masonry fireplaces, foundations, column bases, and landscape features add an organic aesthetic and help buildings blend in with their surroundings. Besides the Mountain Architecture style, others employing the use of stone include the Arts and Crafts, Adirondack, Shingle, Tuscan, and Storybook styles, and are popular in both Timber Frame and Post & Beam methods.
Stacked stone foundation
The types of stacked stone masonry commonly used on mountain homes are available in three basic forms, all of which have advantages and disadvantages. Here is an overview of the three options:
Thick stone veneer is the traditional and time tested stacked stone application, and uses real stones that are cut or broken to be 4″ – 6″ thick. Applied over concrete, masonry, or wood substrates, thick stone veneer is the most realistic looking, but is also the most expensive. Because it is heavy, thick stone is costly to transport, handle, install and support. Substantial structure is required to support stone installations and keep them from moving or failing over time, and this accounts for a good portion of the cost. Thick stone masonry allows individual stones to be offset horizontally, creating a more natural look that adds rustic appeal. It is also the best material to use if a true dry stack look is desired.
Thick stone veneer on a bus stop.
Thin stone veneer also utilizes real stone, but minimizes the weight by cutting the individual stones to a thickness of ¾” to 1 ½”. A quality installation of thin stone veneer will resemble a thick stone installation (it’s the same basic material), but this type of stone doesn’t allow for the horizontal relief that can be achieved with thick stone, and thus shadows and perceived textures are not the same. Thin stone looks more refined and less organic. This type of stone has the highest material cost, but ends up being approximately 15% less expensive installed cost than thick veneer because of savings in structural costs, transportation, handling and installation labor.
Thin stone veneer piers on a home under construction.
Thin stone comes with specially made pieces that are “L” shaped to make corners appear as if full thickness veneer was used. We recommend using thin stone veneer on less visible applications and in locations where the cost to create the structure required for thick veneer is significant. Rooftop chimneys are a good place to use thin veneer, whereas a masonry fireplace that is right at eye level and already has the structure to support stone might be a better place for thicker stone. Another option is to mix in 30% full stone with 70% thin stone to achieve a more natural, textured application.
Full stone mixed in with thin stone to achieve more texture.
Another texture option is to place other masonry materials, such as bricks, into the mix. This is an “Old World” application and is seen on many European structures, including in Tuscany, where stone and other materials were recycled from older buildings (even Roman ruins) or whatever was available. Brick has also been mixed with stone, in a more refined way, in some homes of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Cultured stone is a manufactured product made of formed lightweight concrete that is stained or colored to look like stone. Depending on the brand, cultured stone can be in the form of individual stones or panels that are shaped to key together. Cultured stone is the lightest weight option, owing to the highly porous material from which it is made. Structural requirements to support it are minimal, but because it is so porous cultured stone absorbs and wicks water. It needs to be installed properly and placed over suitable substrates or it can lead to moisture problems and premature failure.
Cultured stone is the least expensive option, but is also the least convincing. Some brands look better than others, but no cultured stone I have seen looks or feels like real stone. Additionally, after several years cultured stone will begin to fade when exposed to sunlight. Almost all manufacturers of cultured stone recommend that it not be installed below grade, and this can lead to installations that are awkward and unconvincing. Many applications of cultured stone leave the material hanging above the ground (and 6″ to 8″ above soil), giving the building the appearance of floating.
One of the problems with cultured stone - a cultured stone wall "floating" above a patio.
When any type of stone is used on foundations, window bays, or any application where the support structure is not an obvious part of the design (such as an arch or beam), it should engage with the ground. To be a valid architectural element, stone should appear to support the building instead of the building supporting the stone.
Natural stone is a beautiful material that can enhance the look and durability of most styles of architecture. As architects of mountain homes, we believe stone, and native stone in particular, is an important material to help a building harmonize with the landscape and appear to “grow from the land”.
Tom Russell, LEED AP and John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture specializes in the design of mountain style homes and cabins, often with a rugged, rustic appearance including the use of stone and timbers. Most of the homes we’ve completed are in mountain resort areas throughout the West. Visit our portfolio for examples of some of our recently completed custom projects. If you are interested in a mountain home, or you have any other inquiries, please contact us.
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Previous Post: Fun Architecture: The Storybook Style of Disneyland
Fun Architecture: The Storybook Style in Disneyland
Written May 8, 2010 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Storybook Style
After visiting Hollywoodland and the Hansel and Gretel cottage, the last stop on our spur of the moment Southern California Storybook style tour was a family trip to Disneyland. We actually made the trip to see family and friends, but I owed a Disneyland day to my wife and kids after architect dad dragged them to the other places. Besides, Disneyland has some fun Storybook style architecture of it’s own, and arguably the most whimsical and imaginative. This particular style is sometimes referred to as the Disneyesque style.
I have to admit, it was nice to see the rustic landing dock building on Tom Sawyer’s Island in Frontierland, which reflects a little of the mountain style I design. I can only imagine what it would be like to integrate the mountain style with the Toontown style.
Rustic Architecture in Disneyland - Tom Sawyer's Island
When I was in grade school I was fascinated with the architecture of Disneyland. I loved that the Pirates of the Caribbean had fun, yet authentic exterior architecture on the interior. Plus the fact that every “themed land” at Disneyland had it’s own architecture, and in these were villages with their own separate architectural styles.
This Bavarian Village in Fantasyland houses Peter Pan's Flight.
When I graduated from Texas Tech in 1990 I had job offers, but I still sent resumes to Frank Gehry, as well as Disney’s Imagineering department. Architecture without limits seemed like the way to go. We were in a mini-recession, and Gehry’s receptionist told me they had a stack of resumes two feet high. Disney sent me a postcard of Mickey Mouse, who kindly told me they weren’t hiring.
Lopsided Architecture in Fantasyland - Pinocchio's Daring Journey
I eventually took a path into the mountain architecture style, where there are a few limits. Snow loads, for example, are something you don’t need to worry about in Disneyland.
The architects and engineers in the Imagineering department have done a great job throughout the years. They truly have no limits, designing whimsical approaches to historic architecture, or creating exaggerated storybook images. The former in places like New Orleans Square and Fantasyland, and the latter in Mickey’s Toontown.
Mickey's House in Toontown
Mickey’s ToonTown is a newer “themed land” in Disneyland, opening in 1993. The colorful, wacky, skewed, completely off plumb architecture in ToonTown captures the imaginations of children and many adults as well. Ironically enough, this area, partly themed after Roger Rabbit’s hometown, was originally considered to be named Hollywoodland, an historic storybook themed neighborhood in Los Angeles.
The Wacky Storybook Style of the Toontown Town Square
Cartoon Architecture - Goofy's Playhouse in Toontown
John Hendricks, Architect AIA
Hendricks Architecture specializes in custom residential design on the planet Earth. We’re located in Sandpoint, Idaho.
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Previous Post: Storybook Style: Hansel and Gretel Cottage
Storybook Style: Hansel and Gretel Cottage
Written May 5, 2010 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Architecture
, Storybook Style
The Spadena House in Beverly Hills, California is one of the most recognizable homes of Storybook style architecture. Nicknamed “The Witch’s House”, this Hansel and Gretel cottage is the last thing you would expect to see in posh Beverly Hills. As an architect, my main critique would be that it needs more windows for natural light on the interior. But then again, who’s going to argue with a witch and her privacy demands.
In 1926 the home appeared in Dixon’s magazine, and was described as “A New Home With an Aged ‘Old World’ Appearance”. The article noted, “All lines in the designs are irregular, crooked and distorted, even the metal bars in the windows are not made straight. All of which, together with color used in painting the house, gives an old weather-beaten appearance.”
The Storybook Style Spadena House is pure Hansel and Gretel.
The house was designed in 1921 by an art director, and was built in Culver City to provide offices and dressing rooms for the Willat movie studio. The building doubled as a movie set and appeared in several silent films in the 1920s. The building soon became widely influential among maverick architects in search of new ideas.
Architect Charles Moore once described the home as the “quintessential Hansel and Gretel House”, and the home is believed to have greatly influenced the architecture of Disneyland, as well as Disney’s Imagineering department.
The Spadena House is often referred to as "The Witch's House"
The building moved to Beverly Hills in 1934 and has since served as a private residence, beginning with the Spadena Family. The Spadena House is the perfect example of an original Storybook house where it cartoonishly has no lines that are straight or plumb, and it was meant to appear rusticated. The roof has a seawave pattern that appears to leak horrendously and will fall in at any time. The front of the home is surrounded by a moat-like pond and gnarled, twisted trees. I would bet at Halloween that many children (and adults) wouldn’t dare steal a peak into one of the dark windows framed by the saggy wooden window shutters. But then again, how could you not?
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture specializes in residential design, most specifically in the design of mountain style homes and cabins. See Storybook Cabin Plan for an example of one of our Storybook homes, and for more information on the Storybook Style. We’re located in Sandpoint, Idaho.
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Previous Post: Southern California Storybook Style Architecture: Hollywoodland
Southern California Storybook Style Architecture: Hollywoodland
Written May 2, 2010 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Architecture
, Storybook Style
Recently my family and I took a whirlwind car trip to Arizona and Southern California to see family, friends and coincidentally, more Storybook style architecture. Along the way we stopped in Hollywoodland, a unique development of storybook cottage homes in Hollywood. I had briefly mentioned the neighborhood and some of the Storybook style origins on a recent blog post titled Storybook Cabin Plan, and since we were in the area, I added Hollywoodland to our itinerary.
Entrance to Hollywoodland
As I had mentioned, the Storybook Style surged in popularity after Hollywoodland, a subdivision of cottage homes, was built in 1923. The theatrically designed homes served as residences in Los Angeles for a number of movie stars and received nationwide media attention as America’s first themed residential community. The Hollywood sign actually used to say Hollywoodland and was built to promote the neighborhood, which housed such notables as Bela Lugosi and Humphrey Bogart. The developers bowed out in the 1940’s and now the stars build to suit their own tastes. The neighborhood is now referenced as upper Beachwood Canyon.
Storybook House in Hollywoodland
Hollywoodland’s covenants required homes to be designed in one of several European revival styles. Architects and builders made full use of this license, arriving at eclectic combinations that its developers might never have expected. Below is a Hansel and Gretel cottage combining half timbering, stone accent walls, and a seawave patterned roof with rolled eaves and jerkinhead gables.
Hollywoodland Storybook Cottage
A closeup of this home below shows more accents of the European style. In older times, homes were built of stone. Sometime along the way, the stucco style grew popular, and homeowners covered up the beautiful stone with stucco. This creative affect was applied to either side of the windows below. Additionally, shingle roofs were created in seawave patterns and shaped to represent the European straw bale roofs. Eventually wood shingle roofs were prohibited because of fire danger, so composition style roofs became the norm, though they pale in comparison.
Storybook Cottage Detail
Wolf’s Lair, a rambling mansion built by real estate developer Milton “Bud” Wolf, is a Norman Revival style castle in Hollywoodland dating from the mid 1920s. Shown below is the gatekeeper’s residence, designed by architect John Lautner in the 1950s.
Today, Hollywoodland has its own homeowner’s association, but is often referred to as upper Beachwood Canyon. Shown below are some of the homes that have replaced many of the Hollywoodland cottages.
The Homes Today in the Upper Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood.
A word to the wise. If you ever plan to drive through Hollywoodland, make sure you bring a small car, and aren’t squeamish about driving on narrow, winding roads.
For more information on the Storybook style, see Storybook Style Hansel and Gretel Cottage in Beverly Hills, Fun Architecture: The Storybook Style in Disneyland, and Storybook Cabin Plan.
John Hendricks, Architect AIA
Hendricks Architecture specializes in residential design, most specifically in the design of mountain style homes and cabins. We’re located in Sandpoint, Idaho.
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Previous Post: Fireplace Options