Promoting the preservation of Mid Century Modern residential architecture in St. Louis through education, appreciation and awareness.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Recent Events & Inspiration

The past month has been an exciting time for us here in Ridgewood. Allow us to tell you about it with a break down in three parts:

Part 1. Apartment Therapy Visits Ridgewood

Early in the month Nathan and Hannah held a garage sale to try and clear out a few treasures from storage. Aside from a successful sale they also had the pleasure of meeting the local writers for Apartment Therapy, a national organization “helping people make their homes more beautiful, organized and healthy by connecting them to a wealth of resources, ideas and community online.” One thing lead to another and the resulting Apartment Therapy house tour with great photos can be found here and here.

Part 2. Columbus, IN. bloggers VIP tour.

Early in the year the good folks at Atomic Indy and the visitor’s center of Columbus, Indiana approached us about attending a VIP Bloggers Tour. The weekend would include private tours of many of the buildings that encompass Columbus’s rich architectural history, including works by prominent mid century architects. Needless to say the weekend was unexpected and unforgettable, which also happens to be the catch phrase for the city. In the case that you don’t make it to Columbus for a visit enjoy a few photos highlighting the weekend.

First Christian Church - 1942 Eliel Saarinen-Architect. Photo by Neil Chace
First Christian Church - 1942 Eliel Saarinen-Architect. Photo by Neil Chace

Considered to be the first major modern project in Colubus, Eliel Saarinen's First Christian Church, completed in 1942.
Church pews designed by Charles Eames. Incredible masony details. Aluminum bullet pendant's.
Today this church is still the center of the community.

Irwin Union Bank and Trust Company-1954 Eero Saarinen-Architect. Photo by Neil Chace.
Irwin Union Bank and Trust Company-1954 Eero Saarinen-Architect. Photo by Neil Chace
Irwin Union Bank and Trust Company-1954 Eero Saarinen-Architect. Photo by Nathan Wilber.

We were both taken by the simple design of this bank including the indirect light 'domes' and amazing furniture designed by George Nelson. All of the furniture you see here is original Knoll specified by Saarinen. Amazingly this building is very well cared for, respected, and still used in the original fashion Saarinend designed.

North Christian Church-1964 Eero Saarinen-Architect. Photo by Neil Chace.

Eero Saarinen's last project was is an amazing study in light. The interior space is truly inspiring. Alexander Girard collaborated on many interior textiles that are still in use today.

Miller Residence-1957. Eero Saarinen- Architect. Photo by Ezra Stoller.

The highlight of the weekend was a private viewing of the Miller home designed by Eero Saarinen, Alexander Girard, and landscape architect Dan Kiley. The home is in wonderful condition and will soon be open to public tours as it is now owned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. No photos were allowed but that allowed everyone to thoroughly enjoy the space and the complementary cocktails.

Miller Residence-1957. Eero Saarinen- Architect. Photo from web.


After returning from our unforgettable weekend in Columbus we sat down with 8 fellow St. Louisans to discuss the prospect of a mid century modern themed party. Parties are great, and I’m sure we will have many of them, but thankfully this group found it beneficial to form something many of us have discussed over the years; a group solely focused on all things Modern in the St. Louis region. Preservation of the recent past. Promotion of the wonderful mid century modern architecture in St. Louis. And great parties. We are very excited.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Advertising With Ridgewood

During the mid century building boom, a variety of new innovations in home design and construction were introduced. Manufacturers were quick to realize the potential of promoting their products to both the builders and buyers of modern homes. In return, many of the architects and home builders of the period were featured in advertisements, highlighting not only thier new ideas in home building, but also the new products that were making them possible. Ridgewood homes were no exception to this, and advertising some of Ridgewood's new modern features became a great way to promote their appeal.

Alwintite aluminum window ad features a Ridgewood home at center
with comment by Burton Duenke.

Monsanto Laux Rez ad features Ridgewood homes and
describes original exterior stain colors

National Homes Week ad features a Ridgewood home (on right) built in
Milwaukee, and awarded Contemporary Division Winner

GE low voltage lighting system ad features comment by Burton Duenke
and shows Ridgewood during construction in upper left of right side page

Cover of General Electric Remote Control manual.

The use of new technology, like the GE low voltage remote control lighting system
used in Ridgewood homes was a great way for builders to showcase new
ideas in home building. It also provided a means of advertising newly built
homes by attaching a trusted name brand to it's new modern features.