Simultaneously silly and seriously somber, Michael Graves’ Clos Pegase Winery is one of the few self-conscious works of architecture in Napa Valley. Designed in Graves’ mature postmodern style, the winery freely mixes neo-Palladian, Roman and Tuscan architectural motifs, with a hint of rural barn vernacular forms and resides comfortably within Calistoga’s Mediterranean agricultural landscape of vineyards and oak scrub.
Designed in the early 90s, when transit-oriented development was nascent in California, Rob Wellington Quigley’s Solana Beach Rail Station packs a significant civic punch.
“In Glendale, The Americana pioneered the concept of mixed-use urban residential in a downtown and inspired a 10-year building boom that added over 3,000 new residential units across 20-plus projects to the immediate area.” My essay about The Americana at Brand is one of the many entries in the online SAH Archipedia.
There are three obvious and immediate precedents to Moore Ruble Yudell’s Church of the Nativity in Rancho Santa Fe: the monastery, the California Mission, and the rancho hacienda. Like its antecedents, the public life at the Church of the Nativity is open only to initiates who make the architectural journey into its protective cloister.
The Beverly Hills Civic Center is a wildly ambitious, yet flawed, project that one imagines would never be built in today’s environment of hard-nosed spreadsheets. Betraying Charles Moore’s signature theatricality, it is packed with idiosyncratic and mannerist architectural expressions, and draws more inspiration from Rome’s Baroque period than the more obvious local traditions of Spanish Revival or City Beautiful movements.
St Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades is one of the more prominent projects in Charles Moore’s oeuvre, perhaps more as an illustration of his inclusive and interactive community-based design process than for its architectural form. However, St Matthew’s confidently expresses more architectural ideas and a larger urban presence than its suburban location would suggest.
Plaza Las Fuentes, located just east of City Hall, is one of the more under-appreciated works of architecture in Pasadena. Its 360-room hotel and adjacent office tower slip into the Civic Center quietly with a comfortable grace. Much of this comfort – which is architectural but also tactile – is derived from a masterful site plan, organized around public courtyards, gardens, fountains, terraces, arcades, and lobbies.