Neutra's Kraigher House is alive and kicking in Brownsville!

The last time we stopped by Richard Neutra's Kraigher House in Brownsville, Texas, it was scarily boarded up. Since I was in town for business and staying around the corner earlier this week, I dropped in for a visit to how the house was doing. I'm happy to report that the house is doing fine! The boards are gone and the house is currently being used as an art and design training studio.

Although I'm not a big fan of Neutra as a person, the dude could architect, and I am quite fond of this house. Built in 1937, the design shows that Neutra had moved past his dedication to pure functionalism that dictated his earlier work. The public side is artfully proportioned and massed. The fully-glazed southern facade takes more of a functional stance. I wasn't able to tour the innards, but I stole a few photographs through the windows.

Folks point to William Lescaze's Magnolia Lounge (1936) at the state fairgrounds in Dallas as the first International Style structure in Texas. However, with its use of porthole windows and glass block, that lounge appears transitional between Streamline Moderne and International Style. I give the Kraigher House props for being the first International Style Modern structure in Texas.


the tundra of our yard

"I like how your yard has come in over the past two years," proclaimed the pizza delivery girl. "It feels like I'm on the tundra."

The feather grass has been gloriously out of control this spring, spreading and growing fantastically. We're a wee bit surprised because under the mulch is TxDOT grade weed guard, but just like the Honeybadger, the feather grass doesn't give a shit.

The cantilevered wall makes a good scritchpost.


dancing with architecture: albuquerque, new mexico

When I flew into Albuquerque last week, I had an hour or so before I needing to hightail it up to Santa Fe for a meeting. Not enough time to do Q-town justice, but enough to sample a few savory bits. Helping to prioritize a few stops was this nifty site called Albuquerque Modernism developed by a class at the University of New Mexico which includes photos, history, addresses, and a map.

Here are some other resources:

MCM tour
City survey of MCM
Albuquerque Modernist Architecture

My first stop was the Kelvinator House built in 1938 and designed by William Burk, Jr. It's a gorgeous Streamline Moderne house called a Kelvinator because of it HVAC system, perhaps the first in Albuquerque.

In the general vicinity of the Kelvinator House are several MCM and other Streamline Moderne houses:

I also stopped in to see the Solar Building built in 1956 by Stanely and Wright. This structure is notable not only for its unusual profile but also for being the first active solar heated commercial building in the world. These days the solar windows, which were probably brutal during the New Mexico summers, have been roofed over, but the bones of the structure are still visible.

Across the alley...

Finally, I stopped to gawk at the A.W. Dekker House built in 1965 by Dekker, a local architect. Currently for sale according to the college kids renting it (although not on the active market).

Here are some photos from MLS of the house: