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End of Summer

A summer holiday for me usually means Basque beaches with the sea in one direction and the Pyrenees in the other direction, with the day ending at Le Kaiku, a chef-owned Michelin star restaurant in Saint Jean de Luz, near the sea. This summer, not eager to embark on international travel, East Tennessee provided an infusion of topography, charming views, and farm-fresh dinners. The views were not as exuberantly picturesque as the Basque country, but East Tennessee offered a delightful end of summer respite. A morning bike ride brings one past a charming boathouse, a cabin, maybe the prototype for the John Neely Bryan replica cabin erected in downtown Dallas, a 19th century church with hand-hewn pews, rivers, creeks, fenced pastures, forests and glorious views. Recent conditions prompted many to move to the interior of the country and prompted others to take a holiday in the interior of the United States. Happy end of Summer! *End of Summer
#EndOfSummer #EastTennessee #BlackberryFarm #HistoricChurch #Boathouse #Landscape @le_kaiku

Stars, Fireflies, Meier

The perfect grand finale on an early summer night in New Harmony is seeing the Richard Meier designed architecture illuminated under the stars that are about to fill the night sky, and then one is able to follow the path illuminated by millions of fireflies that lead you to the Wabash River. Here there are five types of fireflies. There are those that hover in and near the grass, those that dart around at eye level, those that inhabit the flight paths at tree level, and then there are those that fly high with their lightning luminescence that becomes indistinguishable from the millions of bright stars in the night sky. New Harmony might be a small town, but it is the firefly capital of the country. *Stars, Fireflies, Meier
#NewHarmony #Fireflies #LightningBugs #RichardMeier #Architecture #ModernArchitectureAtNight #SmallTown

Prior to Fireflies

As the sun sets on the Wabash, one knows the show will soon begin. Twilight is like an evening sorbet that cleanses the palate of the day to give one a fresh canvas for the millions of fireflies (lightning bugs) about to appear from the grass on the ground to the stars in the sky. This last year the cliché of small town inhabitants heading to New York has been turned on its head with people from New York moving to small towns in Indiana. I decided I didn’t want to miss out on the midwestern small town experience. It is easy to forget how many small towns or cities have wonderful museums and where the nature is sublime. My birthplace of Freeport, Illinois, a site of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, has a delightful art museum and massive parks and landscaped boulevards I still think about. The village of Hinsdale, Illinois, where I was raised, had tree-lined, brick paved streets and triangle parks. Hinsdale also had a health museum that people came to from miles away. Whether it is a small town or a big city, it is important to balance art, architecture, vibrancy, and nature in an honest and organic way. *Prior to Fireflies
#Twilight #Nature #NewHarmony #SmallTown

Family Expression

21st century cemeteries seem to take their clues from New Urbanism—controlled, uniform, efficient sameness, packed together with the obligatory bench and fountains. Farm church cemeteries express the personality of the several generations of family resting there along with a view of what brought them to this land, and how it provided for them. I have loved cemeteries like this since I was a child. They seem to exude history and joy versus sorrow and loss. Organic Urbanism perpetuates the good and fun of the past and of the future. *Family Expression
#HistoricCemetery #ChurchCemetery #CountryCemetery #FamilyFarm

Nature Begets Architecture

A historic silo is programmatically modern. Form follows function. The materials are from the region. The architecture is honest, and it submits to the landscape. The genuine need for a silo over 100 years ago leaves us now with a piece of art and architecture. I love the curved, red, high-fire brick with five aligned vertical windows perfectly placed and the site on the edge of a row of trees with a foreground of farmland. It has been several years since I visited corn, bean, and wheat fields that became an ingrained impression of my youth when I was visiting farms owned by relatives on both sides of my family. Nostalgia, nature, and architecture translate to a city as well as a farming community. Organic Urbanism enhances what people love. *Nature Begets Architecture
#HistoricSilo #Beanfield #Architecture #Brick #HistoricFarm

Art on Wabash

Art is maybe the most compelling when it is unexpected. Walking through a narrow path surrounded by trees and crossing water, it was a delight to come across this sculpture. It reminded me of an Eduardo Chillida sculpture found in the Basque countryside sculpture garden in Hernani near San Sebastian. Just like the Richard Meier architecture found in both the farmland of New Harmony and in the urban atmosphere of Dallas, the Eduardo Chillida sculpture is hidden in the Basque countryside and it is also prominently displayed in front of the I.M. Pei designed Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. You can see examples of this Chillida sculpture in my Instagram posts around August 27, 2019. It shows how sensitive we are to the environment for art and how sensitive we are to nature in our cities. We need art and nature in our daily lives. In this picture, farmland and the Wabash River are in the background and on the other side of the path is the MacLeod Barn Abby, a quiet space for meetings, lectures, and events that offer solace for the mind, body, and soul. Gail Thomas and the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture permeated Dallas with a heightened sense of the city having a soul that needed to be nurtured. It became understood that a nurtured city would nurture its inhabitants. A successful city, town, or neighborhood needs to be nurtured. Organic Urbanism treats these places like a garden to be gingerly planted, groomed, and enjoyed. *Art on Wabash
#Art #WabashRiver #NewHarmony #MacLeodBarnAbby #GailThomas #DallasInstituteOfHumanitiesAndCulture #Sculpture

Labyrinth to New Harmony

Preservation is more than just preservation. Preservation is revitalizing an earlier energy and vision of the community. Jane Owen revived the 1814 German Utopian town that originally had buildings from the 1800’s and a hedge labyrinth for meditation and prayer. The best cities, towns, and neighborhoods have organic leadership motivated by passion to preserve, perpetuate and create good ideas and projects. The communities that are the most successful are not because a planner dictated the urban policy that they were taught in graduate school, but the communities are successful because of village driven projects embraced by the community. In 1988, Jane Owen created a polished granite labyrinth in New Harmony dedicated by the Rector of Chartres Cathedral, the cathedral that she visited with the architects to replicate the measurements. A labyrinth has become the unofficial logo of New Harmony. The hedge labyrinth and polished granite labyrinth have architectural appeal, are sophisticated and urbane, and add depth and meaning to the public spaces surrounded by nature. These labyrinths are additional successful expressions of Organic Urbanism. *Labyrinth to New Harmony
#Labyrinth #ChartresCathedral #NewHarmony #GraniteLabyrinth #OrganicUrbanism #HedgeLabyrinth

Philip Johnson Country Church

A country church by architect Philip Johnson certainly adds more visual vibrancy to a small town than a traditionally designed church. Jane Blaffer Owen, a patron of New Harmony, commissioned The Roofless Church in 1960. Born in Texas, she was a philanthropist, an heir to the Humble Oil fortune, who also funded the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston. Jane was educated at Bryn Mawr and also at Union School of Theology. This was a great cultural and theological pedigree for her to orchestrate The Roofless Church. As Allison Hatfield commented in the last post, “One amazing restaurant is all a person really needs,” maybe one amazing patron is all a town really needs. Jane Owen was amazing. She was named by Queen Elizabeth II as Commander of the British Empire. I have found that successful cities, towns, and neighborhoods have major patrons. Dallas had Margaret McDermott as a patron. Munger Place, a small neighborhood, had the insight and drive of property owners like Bob Logan to transform the neighborhood that had been in decline for 70 years since Margaret McDermott had lived there as a girl. In New Harmony, The Roofless Church conveys surprise and joy—surprise to see it at the end of the block when one checks into the New Harmony Inn; further surprise to see what first looks like a walled garden reveals a sculptural chapel, and then another surprise when the sheltered church pews around the perimeter have a backdrop of beanfields. The Roofless Church is a meditative space where one can enjoy time by oneself. It also becomes the site of glorious weddings. The Philip Johnson architect-designed church adds to the Organic Urbanism success of New Harmony. *Philip Johnson Country Church
#PhilipJohnson #Architect #RooflessChurch #NewHarmony #OrganicUrbanism #Modern #SacredSpace

One Restaurant Town

To emphasize the point that New Harmony is a “one restaurant town,” I am posting the picture of the one restaurant. However, New Harmony also has a fabulous coffee shop with the best espresso I have had this year. I should have known the coffee would be good and New Harmony was a vibrant town when I saw two policemen drinking their coffee there. I was so impressed with the espresso, backed with small batch tonic, that I told the barista/owner that this is the best coffee east of the Wabash. *One Restaurant Town
#NewHarmony #SmallTown #Historic #MainStreet #OrganicUrbanism

Field of Dreams

The beginning of this summer I visited New Harmony, Indiana, to see if Organic Urbanism thinking translates for small towns and big cities. I usually think of Organic Urbanism as a way forward for cities. However, it is interesting that a small town of 980 residents like New Harmony can have an organic evolution, celebrate nature, generate vibrancy, and showcase art and architecture. My upcoming series of posts will review a small town with lots of energy, important architecture and pastoral charm. Field of Dreams—Build It and They Will Come could certainly apply to New Harmony. Jane Baffler Owen, wife of New Harmony founding family descendent, orchestrated the Richard Meier architect-designed Atheneum in 1969 serving as the New Harmony Visiting Center. In Dallas, we are more familiar with the Richard Meier designed Rachofsky House on 3 acres in Preston Hollow. The architecture is similar, equally suited to urban or farm land. They serve in somewhat the same capacity as The Rachofsky House could be considered an Atheneum of art and architecture. It is the first place I bring friends from Europe to get a sense of Dallas. When great architecture is built, they will come. *Field of Dreams
#RichardMeier #Architect #Architecture #NewHarmony #Dallas #Art #OrganicUrbanism #ModernHome

Hidden In Highland Park

It is easy to forget how modern homes in Highland Park can have uncovered walls and windows and still maintain their privacy. On what I think of as Oglesby corner—a corner of Highland Park that has two homes designed by Oglesby Architects fifty years apart—architect Joe McCall, as a young associate, worked on the first one of these homes and, as an AIA Fellow, he designed this new modern home. Both homes face each other, benefitting both from their deep setbacks that allow a lush landscape. Landscape architect David Hocker designed the landscape for this Joe McCall designed home, including the pool, with subtle spacing between the bluestone comprising the deck that allows any water splashing over the perfectly flat plane of deck and water to be collected. *Hidden In Highland Park
#JoeMcCallArchitect #DallasArchitect @JoeMcCallFAIA #ModernArchitect #OglesbyGreenArchitects #DallasLandscape #DallasLandscapeArchitect #DallasArchitecture #DallasPool #HighlandParkHome #HomesThatMakeUsHappy #DallasModernHome #HighlandParkModern @HockerDesign

Architectural Code

Highland Park might have the most rigorous building codes in Dallas, but this Highland Park home designed by Joe McCall, FAIA, has the most interesting deployment of code. On the front door, is a subtle greeting in Morse code to let guests know they have arrived at the right home. *Architectural Code
#FrontDoor #MorseCode #JoeMcCallArchitect #ModernArchitect @JoeMcCallFAIA #DallasArchitect #Architect #DallasArchitecture #HighlandParkModern #DallasModernHome #HighlandParkHome #Design #ModernHardware #ContemporaryDesign #DouglasFir

Architectural Precision

Here, architect Joe McCall designed and contractor Stephen Hardy constructed the Italian Corso tile wall and the Sapele wood slatted gate to line up perfectly. Historic homes can have rolls and bends, eclectic designs can be forgiving with their extensive use of moldings, but architecturally significant modern homes have to be perfect. A modern home’s path to peace and serenity is based on the intuitive expectation everything is without flaw and perfectly aligned. *Architectural Precision
#JoeMcCallArchitect #ModernArchitect @JoeMcCallFAIA #HighlandParkHome #HighlandParkModernHome #DallasModern #DallasModernHome #DallasArchitecture #StephenHardyContractor #ArchitecturalDetail #Artisanship #CorsoTile #SapeleWood #DallasHome #DallasDesign #ArchitecturalPrecision

Materials Make Modern

Can inviting sumptuous, captivating materials allow an architect to design a more modern home? Here in Highland Park, architect Joe McCall wins the battle for a home that will make one happy with his use of materials. As you approach this modern home, the edge-cut Douglas fir porte cochere is above you that has a clear stain bringing out the natural caramelized cinnamon colors of this soft wood. At your feet are the solid stone blocks of bluestone leading to the honed bluestone at the entrance. Visually connecting these two parallel flat planes of contrasting texture and color is an outer wall of Corso Italian brick with an open transom to allow one to see the continuous Douglas fir ceiling as it extends into the interior linear courtyard. Five different textures of bluestone are seen at the home. The Douglas fir is also used for the window frames throughout the house. The steel beams and columns and walls of floor-to-ceiling windows serve the purpose to integrate the view of nature throughout the home. However, because of the use of the other materials introduced at the entrance, the home is never interpreted as a glass and steel house. If the modern battle is won with materials, the architectural war is won with the proportions and intersecting open spaces that enmesh the home in the site. My favorite modern homes have layers and depth of materials and textures, as architect Joe McCall, landscape architect David Hocker, and interior designer Wendy Konradi have created here. I am curious what your favorite materials are for a modern home? *Materials Make Modern
#JoeMcCallArchitect #ModernArchitect @JoeMcCallFAIA #DallasLandscapeArchitect #ModernMaterials #DallasModernHome #HighlandParkModernHome #DallasContemporaryHome #HighlandParkModern #HighlandParkHome #DallasDesign #DallasArchitecture #ArchitecturallySignificantHomes #ModernDesign #DallasLandscape #HighlandParkContemporary #HomesThatMakeUsHappy @WendyKonradiDesign

Italian Texture@JoeMcCallFAIA

These long, thin Corso Italian 19-3/4” x 1-1/2” bricks were selected by Joe McCall for the modern home he recently designed in Highland Park. These bricks are individually formed and fired in kilns that allow a variation and depth of color depending on the placement in the kiln. The emphasis of the horizontal length of each brick evokes the modern rectilinear aspects of this very modern home. The texture adds depth and character to a modern home with many glazed walls, windows and doors. This post is a tribute to architect @JoeMcCallFAIA and the incredible modern homes he has designed. The post is also in honor of artisan and artist, master brickmason, and architectural historian Rick Wood who always has something fascinating to say about brick and how it is applied. *Italian Texture
@JoeMcCallFAIA #JoeMcCallFAIA #CorsoBrick #ItalianBrick #HighlandParkModern #ModernHome #DallasModernHome #DallasDesign #DallasArchitecture #DallasArchitect #HomesThatMakeUsHappy

Legends On Legend

Frank Welch was a legend – an architect beloved by his clients and revered by other architects, and he still is. The Architectural Forum posted the Frank Welch Memorial Lecture at the Moody Performance Hall in the Arts District. Here, potential future legends, Midland architect Mark Wellen, FAIA, Dallas architect, Max Levy, FAIA, and Fort Worth architect, Mark Gunderson, AIA, reviewed the work, approach and personality of architectural legend Frank Welch, FAIA, who furthered Texas Modern architecture and charmed the community.

Architects are tied into the community, shape the community, and illustrate the history of the community. Since I was in my twenties, I have met and discussed architecture with the architects in Dallas I consider legends. When I initiated and sponsored the Restoration House of the Year Award, a series of AIA presidents were on the committee for the annual award. These included Ed Beran, FAIA, Bill Booziotis, FAIA, and several other legends I have learned much from, and a few of them became longtime friends. Another legend was James Pratt, FAIA, who was a Dallas combination of Wilbur Cook, George Kessler and Jane Jacobs. I discussed a home James Pratt designed in my TEDx Talk, Homes That Make Us Happy, and had the pleasure of being a member of Town and Gown with him. James Pratt had a plan for Dallas unveiled at the Dallas Art Museum which included Haskell Boulevard connecting Highland Park with Fair Park. When I go to the Dallas Architecture Forum, there are often architects in the audience who will be our next legends and talked about for generations. Architects have one foot in society and one foot with the public – tradespersons, builders, designers, and the community. Architects are esteemed and accessible. What architects do you think might someday be a lasting legend in Dallas? *Legends On Legend
#DallasArchitect #DallasLegend #DallasArchitectureForum #ArtsDistrict #FrankWelch #MarkWellen #MaxLevy #MarkGunderson #TexasModern #MoodyPerformanceHall #ModernArchitecture #DallasModernHomes #ArchitecturallySignificant @RWArchitects #MarkWellen #DallasArchitecture #TexasArchitecture #MidlandArchitecture #TexasModernArchitecture

Nature and Neighborhood

People have been flooding to suburbs, small towns, and countryside locations. Homeowners also have been migrating to urban neighborhoods that embrace and exude nature. The rear garden of my home in an urban neighborhood has 12 trees and extensive plant life, attracting dozens of varieties of birds, from hummingbirds to hawks. Recently, when I went to Greenway Parks to show a Max Levy modern home that I have listed for sale, I was greeted by a rabbit close to the front entrance. There is something about seeing a rabbit that makes me think of nature on a different level. Rabbits are not rare and they do not seem out of place, but they always bring a smile. Nature brings value to us and value to a home. Greenway Parks is a great example of a neighborhood with lots less than an acre in size that exudes nature. What neighborhoods that have lots under one acre do you associate with nature? *Nature and Neighborhood
#GreenwayParks #MaxLevyArchitect #DallasNeighborhood #DallasModernHome #HomesThatMakeUsHappy #DallasNature #Rabbit #DallasHome

Tribute to D@DMagazine

D Magazine has for years identified the best Dallas realtors. This year, I wanted to make a tribute to D Magazine by securing a two-page profile in the section that lists the best real estate agents. It was also a great reason to retain talented artist Allison V. Smith to take a portrait photograph of me.

I have been fond of D Magazine since Wick Allison produced the first issue of D when I was still at SMU. I have known several of the past D Magazine editors and have actually have been close friends with a few of them. Each editor brought their personality, expertise and background to the magazine, shaping its direction. However, I have never enjoyed the magazine more than now under the leadership of editor Tim Rogers. Tim takes a profoundly insightful look at Dallas, but always with the undercurrent of his ever-present humor. D Magazine has been successful in part because Dallas has been successful. Dallas is successful in part because of D Magazine and the contribution of its incredible editors, writers, designers, producers, and staff. Thank you D Magazine! *Tribute to D
@DMagazine #DMagazine #TimRogers #CityMagazine #DRealEstate #DBestAgents #DallasRealEstate #DallasHomes #DallasNeighborhood #DallasRealtor #HighlandParkHomes @TimmyTyper @allisonvsmith

Town and Gown

Our first time back to an in-person event will be seared in our minds forever. I am so pleased my first 2021 event was an SMU Town and Gown talk and dinner with the added pleasure of it being held at the Dallas Arboretum's A Tasteful Place, the fabulous modern glass pavilion designed by architect Russell Buchanan that overlooks the edible gardens and White Rock Lake. Town and Gown, I believe, is the only club that I have been a member of. The idea of brilliant professors and deans on the gown side alternating talks with brilliant members of the Dallas community on the town side was an appealing concept. I was thrilled to be voted in as a member. At the turn of the 21st century, I was president of Town and Gown and I have continued to enjoy the inspirational and collegial exchange of ideas since. This recent Monday evening, Allan McBee moderated a provocative conversation, “US-China Relationship-Economic and Security Discussions,” with Jay T. Young and Patrick Jenevein. Both of these speakers have had extensive personal involvement with China and these thorny issues. At dinner, sitting next to the great artist and intellectual Mary Vernon added to the joy of being back to seeing people. *Town and Gown
#SMU #TownAndGown #DallasArboretum #ATastefulPlace #WhiteRockLake #EdibleGardens #Architecture #Modern #LandscapeDesign @AllanWMcBee #PatrickJenevein #JayTYoung #Dallas

Max Modern

Architect Max Levy pushes the envelope of modern architecture and embraces the envelope of the environment. In every house Max Levy designs you are able to see his original concept is rooted in nature. Each project projects and embraces nature in different nuanced ways. I love that the second floor screened room with a separate entrance and a fireplace is not on the side of the house or hidden at the back of the house or the lot, but is front and center, a central element of the design. It is here one is enticed to enjoy the views of neighbors strolling down the tree-lined streets or see one’s family in the glass-walled rooms surrounding the garden and pool. A design focus creates a living focus. *Max Modern
#GreenwayParks #Architect #MaxLevy #Architecture #HomeForSale #Modern #Design #ModernHome #DallasHome #ScreenedRoom #HomesThatMakeUsHappy

Neighborhood, Nature, Architecture

Architectural significance, the neighborhood and nature are the foundation of homes that will make people happy and go up in value. This modern home by architect Max Levy that I will be offering for sale is architecturally significant in Greenway Parks, a fabulous neighborhood, and designed to capture nature. In the short term, these aspects of the home will have the buyer love living in the home and in the long term the buyer can expect a vast increase in value.
*Neighborhood, Nature, Architecture
#Architect #MaxLevy #Architecture #GreenwayParks #Modern #Design #Neighborhood #HomesThatMakeUsHappy

Modern Lens

Windows are a lens to the environment around us. Often historic homes have windows with pretty views of nature. Too often modern homes are built with gobs of oversized windows, but they look into a neighbor’s garage. I love that this modern home has long stretches of windows on both sides of the home that allow one from either the inside or outside of the home to have a beautiful framed view of other architect-designed modern houses across the pond. *Modern Lens
#Architecture #Architect #Design #Window #View #Modern #ModernHome #OrganicUrbanism

Winter Pointillism

The winter point of Pointillism is to accentuate the design and capture the moment. On a morning bike ride through Dallas neighborhoods, what better way to convey a season, capture a home, and express a feeling than with full, soft, white snowflakes falling against the backdrop of a home painted in a graphite tone trimmed in white. This city home surrounded by nature on a rolling block was transformed by one of my favorite artists, Allison V. Smith, and her husband, the esteemed gallerist, Barry Whistler. They took a home with great proportions that was perfectly sited, but at a glance might look like many other brick homes of the Dallas period. Dramatic paint, landscaping, and a well-positioned porch bench make the home visually enticing and an inviting spot for a porch salon. Here is a home that captures the essence of every season and the vitality of the city interlaced with nature—Organic Urbanism at its best. Thank you, Allison @AllisonVSmith and Barry @BarryWhistlerGallery, for your many contributions to heightening the aesthetics of Dallas. *Winter Pointillism
#DallasNeighborhood #Architecture #Design #HouseColor #FrontPorch #Home #Winter #Snowflakes #Pointillism #OrganicUrbanism #HomesThatMakeUsHappy

Speed Reading

A Christmas tradition in our family started, not when I received this speed-reading mechanical bear, but when my father did when I was a child. He so enjoyed narrating and showing off this speed-reading bear to family, friends and neighbors stopping by over the holidays that he received a mechanical toy every Christmas from then on. On Christmas Eve presents were opened, and on Christmas Day all the previous mechanical toys received at Christmas were brought out and put under the tree. And what a collection it was—from Charlie Weaver mixing a drink, drinking it, and smoke coming out of his ears, to the Neiman Marcus nursing dog. The tradition continued after my father was gone and I began receiving a mechanical toy every Christmas. *Speed Reading
#MechanicalToy #ChristmasToy #Toy #Christmas #ChristmasGift #Bear #SpeedReading #ChristmasTradition #MechanicalBear #MidCenturyToy #Tradition #FamilyTradition #Father #Neighbors #Friends

Baton Passed

The wonderful thing about being a real estate broker is not just seeing great houses, but meeting and getting to know wonderful people. This Henry B. Thomson architect-designed house is a beauty. Every time I go inside, I marvel at its proportions and why it instills such a pleasing sense of awe in a greater way than other important houses. Just having the opportunity to revisit that feeling would have been motivation enough to represent the seller and offer this architecturally significant home for sale. What was really thrilling was to represent a Hal Thomson homeowner who I met when I was in my 20s, when the homeowner was first looking at homes on Swiss Avenue. I have watched her renovate the home, maintain the home and contribute in a friendly and meaningful way to the neighborhood. This homeowner exemplifies why so many Swiss Avenue homeowners live on Swiss Avenue for decades—the comradery and friendly atmosphere, the proximity to downtown with skyline views popping up over the trees that grace the boulevard, the nationally celebrated neighborhood chef-owned restaurants, and the close proximity to the Santa Fe Trail and White Rock Lake. While the sale of this home invokes sentiment, it also brings joy to see this architecturally significant home being passed on to another homeowner who also loves historic homes, gardens, Dallas, and Swiss Avenue. The great houses survive 100 years because of great owners. This Hal Thomson-designed home has another one. I always strive for gracious transactions. This important home was listed, sold and closed in 19 days with all the participants delighted with the outcome and the future of the home. *Baton Passed

#HalThomson #HenryBThomson #Historic #ArchitecturallySignificant #Architect #Architecture #SwissAvenue #HistoricDistrict #Dallas #Neighborhood #OrganicUrbanism

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