Art & Design
The words “rural modern” may conjure a variety of images in your mind—or possibly none at all. But Rural Modern author Russell Abraham has no such problem. A leading West Coast architectural photographer and writer, he’s put together a group of illuminating examples of a style of architecture, and architects who practice it, that began with Bauhaus and Frank Lloyd Wright and has evolved into today’s Rural Modern.
“The Rural Modern house is an architectural blend, drawing on both Bauhaus disciplines and American Regional architectural sensibilities,” says Abraham in the intro. “One that is always rooted in the vernacular.” Today, by “designing buildings that use less water and little energy, the Rural Modern house helps mitigate the carbon footprint of the construction process. The end result is buildings that are more likely to have shed roofs, large overhangs and sunshades to mitigate heat gain...stone or brick walls that function as heat sinks as well as bearing walls…more likely to be constructed of local or sustainable hardwoods than exotic imports…the concept of craft and craftsmanship reaffirmed and celebrated…”
Although many of the houses in the book are in rural areas, it is design that defines them. A few are in urban/suburban areas; others are more isolated beach or forest homes. Abraham carefully selected the 26 architects he profiles; he gives us a thorough background about their personal development and the philosophies that have led to their current work.
Take, for example, Page Carter and Jim Burton, Carter + Burton Architecture of Berryville, Virginia, described by Abraham as “A New Voice in Southern Modernism.” Their clients wanted a second home that would accommodate large family reunions, that would fit into a bucolic site in the Shenandoah Valley, and that would not be “a national park lodge.” The solution: the Elk Run Ridge house, which is “really two houses under one roof with a large breezeway separating the two parts.” One part is a great room for large family gatherings, with kitchen and master suite; the other, a separate studio and guest quarters. Broad porches on both sides of the house are accessed by rollaway glass sliding doors, perfect for summer evenings and large parties. Around the portico are 18 up-lit wooden columns, giving the house the feel of “a modern-day Monticello,” according to Abraham.
Continuing reading the full article in the December/January issue
Rural Modern by Russell Abraham ASMP
The Images Publishing Group
Information at www.imagespublishing.com
Judy Bucher is an award-winning editor and writer who contributes frequently to the family of New West Publishing magazines.