1957, Northern California, House
325 Via Del Rey Dr., Monterey
A single floor wood house, somewhat Japanesque in character (Gebhard, Winter, and Sandweiss 1985: 467).
1959, Northern California, House
10 Chualar Place, Monterey
An early house by this architect which from the point of view of style falls easily within the late wood Bay tradition of the 40s and 50s (Gebhard, Winter, and Sandweiss 1985: 467).
1961, Russian Hill, Studio
2508 Leavenworth St., San Francisco
Clark and Beuttler, Charles W. Moore, designer
1961, Northern California, Bonham cabin
The Bonham cabin in the Santa Cruz Mountains cost not much over $7000 when it was built in 1962. Located in a dark redwood grove, it is built around a fourteen–foot square central space, really a miniature tower lined in white, with lean–to "saddlebag" spaces containing a bathroom and kitchen, a fireplace area, and a screened porch. We didn't at all mind, at that price, if it looked cheap. We were all delighted with Catherine Bauer Wurster's appraisal of her husband's practice, which by then had included some very expensive houses: "No matter how much it costs," she had said, "it will never show," and since our own buildings boasted the authenticity of tiny budgets, we exulted in the overt cheapness of asphalt roll roofing (dolled up with two–by–two battens), plywood siding, a flimsy chimney, and industrial sash, which was then the least expensive window available. But we were anxious for grandeur, too, in what was meant to be a very small great house, and looked for it in the great height of the main space, and the extraordinarily large window. The floor area of the house is so small that there is hardly any room for furniture; the substitute is seat–height changes of level, which allow you to sit anywhere with your feet on the next level below, so as to minimize the distance to the upper bedroom deck, permitting a short flight of stairs (which was all there was room for) to bridge the gap (Charles Moore in Woodbridge 1988: 280–83).
1961, Northern California, Jobson house
Our other idea was initially represented in the Jobson house in Big Sur, a cabin only slightly larger than Miss Bonham's. We had read in Sir John Summerson' Heavenly Mansions about the importance of aediculas, four–postered pavilions where Egyptian pharaohs had ritually had their vigor renewed and statues of medieval saints had been enshrined. Sumerson said that modern architecture did not include such an element, a situation we thought should be remedied. Primitive huts, we had also been told, were often formed around four posts, generally with a hearth in the middle, the edges of the hut then configured to meet specific requirements of the inhabitants. In the Jobson cabin, we sought to base a scheme on an aedicular center (though here used for a stair to a mezzanine instead of for a fireplace), with a skylit top and a roof sloping off regularly on all four sides from the four posts ("like a redwood tent," according to a celebrated tent maker). The width of the space, therefore, is a determinant of its height, so that when the space is narrowest the high eave allows for a sleeping mezzanine; when it is slightly wider, in the dining area, it forms a high space, which allows vertical windows to frame the spiky redwoods outside; over the wider living room seating area the eave is lower, the space cozier, the windows pushed more horizontal, which accords with a gentle view up the valley. A special low window allows a view into a creek outside. All this, as in the Louis Kahn plaid, creates a very strict spatial framework within which many of the architect's decisions are fixed beforehand (Charles Moore in Woodbridge 1988: 281, 287).
1961, East Bay, Moore house
A second house based on an even more extensive set of geometries was built for me in 1961 in Orinda. It includes two aediculas of different sizes, formed by large wooden columns placed to hold up a symmetrical roof over a square plan, though the symmetry of the openings lies about a diagonal axis, so that patterns are overlaid. There is yet another pattern here, of layers of implied insideness (from the shelves to the shower in one of the aediculas), to enhance the diagrammatic quality of the dwelling without losing the apparent easiness that goes with the location of this little square house on a round meadow in a grove of oaks. Here every decision, from the purchase of the large columns before there was even a design for the house, to leaving off any corner supports which would have solidified the square plan, was taken to press for a kind of toy grandeur, as would befit a (very) small great house (Charles Moore in Woodbridge 1988: 287–91).
1962, East Bay, Talbert house
141 Strathmore Dr., Berkeley
One of the first "vertical box" designs by this firm. Because of the steep slope the house has a minimal joint with the ground, after which it "platforms" out to give the living spaces access to the view. It is attached to the road by a "gangplank" entrance (Gebhard, Winter, and Sandweiss 1985: 281).
In 1962 the Talbert house, on a very steep site in the Oakland hills, gave a chance to extend the Bonham cabin diagram vertically. Here again is a central space with shed–roofed "saddlebags" hung on it, but this time the central space is higher and has larger balconies alternately on the north and south sides of the tower which allow space inside to snake continuously down. On the top (entry) level is a bedroom, with a panoramic bathroom in a saddlebag. Stairs (also outside the central space) lead down to a dining balcony, with the kitchen in an adjacent saddlebag. Farther down still is a glassy bay, then at the bottom of the central space, seating around a fireplace (Charles Moore in Woodbridge 1988: 281, 284).
1963, East Bay, House
1590 Campus Dr., Berkeley
A Berkeley–little–boxes–on–stilts–on–the–hillside design by the firm that made them famous. The house was not completed as designed (Gebhard, Winter, and Sandweiss 1985: 254).
1964 [1902, 1906], Financial District, First Nationwide Bank
700 Market St., San Francisco
William Curlet; Clark and Beuttler, Charles Moore, principal designer
Charles W. Moore was a principal designer of the corner addition, which echoes the form of the older buiklding in a way that is clearly contemporary. The structure turns the corner by making a major element of the stair tower (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 19).
Demonstrating another way to accommodate the past and a neighboring building, Charles Moore, working with a designer from Clark and Beuttler, boldly mimicked a 1902 Renaissance/Baroque structure with a bank building on Market Street in 1964 (Wiley 2000: 142).
1965, Northern California, Condominium 1
End of Sea Walk, Sea Ranch
Still the most impressive and the most famous of the buildings at the Sea Ranch. The ten units of the Condominium submerge themselves into history—i.e. the rural traditional architecture of northern California and the landscape itself—and yet in the end their strong geometry dominates the place. The interior spaces of the condominiums are as dramatic as their complex exteriors (Gebhard, Winter, and Sandweiss 1985: 385; 543).
In terms of the forms and ideas that appeared in the new group housing, Bay Area designers played a very significant part. They provided images that captured a major national market, spreading their regional ideas throughout the country. The Sea Ranch Condominiums, a 1965 design by Charles Moore and his partners, so perfectly packaged these ideas that offspring of Sea Ranch can be found now from New England to Florida, all across the Midwest, and everywhere in the West. This project, obviously one of the seminal events in Bay Area architecture, epitomizes the twin motives of planned unit clustering and distinct individuation of each actual dwelling unit. Moore quotes a friend who characterized the Sea Ranch Condominiums from a distance as "like a large wooden rock." Moore calls it "a community" of ten dwellings "with tower, courts, bays, and solaria, ranged around two common courtyards...," splendidly integrated with the powerful landscape into a single evocative unit. Yet against this runs an equally powerful individuation. Moore argues in explaining this project "that the fundamental principle of architecture is territorial." He made each "great room" a dwelling different. Each shows itself powerfully distinct within its basic vocabulary of materials, forms, and spatial layers within layers.12(Roger Montgomery in Woodbridge 1988: 230, 246, 253–56, 258).