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the Greene & Greene-ing of America

This past week's Arroyo Monthly, a free publication mailed mostly to homeowners in Pasadena, California, includes the following article by Michael Cervin on the increased popularity of Greene & Greene not just in Southern California but nationwide:

Architects Charles and Henry Greene are known around the world for their striking Arts and Crafts homes, which so thoroughly punctuate the Southern California landscape. It's perhaps ironic then that the late Henry Greene's own home, the one he initially built for his mother-in-law, was razed in 1968 and is now a parking structure. Charles Greene's home on Arroyo Terrace still stands. Thus fared the personal residences of the architects whose names are more closely associated with Pasadena than those of any of their peers. The brothers built 75 structures in the Crown City during their career, mainly custom residences, of which nearly 40 are still standing.

“Other architects have enjoyed more famous careers,” noted Edward Bosley, James N. Gamble Director of the Gamble House. “Others have produced more buildings. Still others have earned more notoriety for progressive designs that advanced the discipline of architecture. But no other architects have left us with a more glowing legacy of beauty, craft, livability and spirit than Charles and Henry Greene.”

British architecture critic Reyner Banham, quoted in a book by former Gamble House curator Randell Makinson, said that Greene & Greene residences looked completely in their element in Southern California, “and especially so in Pasadena – that it's often difficult to conceive of them as part of any nationwide, let alone worldwide, movement. They seem so specific to that Arroyo Culture of which they are the chief ornaments and the true treasure-houses.”

Though the term “bungalow” is associated with the Greenes, most of their best-known homes are not true bungalows, which were conceived in India as modest one-story structures. Certainly the Greenes started out designing homes for the common man. The Architectural Record referred to their work in a 1906 essay: “The houses are largely successful because they so frankly meet economic, domestic and practical conditions. Their chief characteristics are their lowness, big overhanging roofs, their shingled walls and the absence of architectural ornament.”

read the full article on the Arroyo Monthly site