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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Outside In: The Architecture of Smith and Williams, UC-Santa Barbara Art Museum, April 13 - June 16, 2013 and "Smith & Williams: An Annotated Bibliography"

Whitney R. Smith, Alpha Rho Chi, USC El Rodeo, 1932. 

Whitney R. Smith demonstrating moké (rhymes with OK), a method of weaving plywood to form intricate designs from

Wayne R. Williams. Photo courtesy Communi-k Inc. via Architectural Record.

Smith & Williams office, 1414 N. Fair Oaks, South Pasadena, 1958. Photo by Jocelyn Gibbs, 2012.

Smith & Williams decisively shaped the modern vocabulary of architecture in post-war Pasadena and Los Angeles County. Working in the wake of the first generation of avant-garde architects in Southern California and riding the postwar building boom, the partners Whitney R. Smith, erstwhile Case Study House architect (see below) and Wayne R. Williams developed a pragmatic modernism that, through remarkable site planning and design, integrated landscape and building. Despite the significance of their work, “Outside In” is the first monographic study of Whitney Smith and the Smith and Williams firm. Co-curators Jocelyn Gibbs and Christina Chiang will draw on the extensive archives within the museum's Architecture and Design Collection.   

Case Study House No. 6, "Loggia House," Whitney R. Smith, 1946. (Project). From Modern California Houses: Case Study Houses, 1945-1962 by Esther McCoy, Reinhold, 1962, p. 27.

Whitney R. Smith, ca. 1962, photographer unknown (Julius Shulman?). From Modern California Houses: Case Study Houses, 1945-1962 by Esther McCoy, Reinhold, 1962, p. 208.

Besides his partnership with Williams, Smith also collaborated with A. Quincy Jones and Edgardo Contini between 1948 and 1950 on the Mutual Housing Association (see below) planned community in Crestwood Hills in Brentwood.

Mutual Housing Association marketing brochure, ca. 1949. From Crestwood Hills.

Robert Crowell Residence, Smith & Williams, architects, Sunset, May 1954, front cover. Julius Shulman Job No. 1611, October 27, 1953.

Outside In: the Architecture of Smith and Williams is part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.  This collaboration, initiated by the Getty, brings together several local arts institutions for a wide-ranging look at the postwar built environment of the city as a whole, from its famous residential architecture to its vast freeway network, revealing the city’s development and ongoing impact in new ways. The dynamic duo's work is finally being given the recognition it deserves with an exhibition Outside In: The Architecture of Smith and Williams at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum at UC-Santa Barbara. The exhibition will run from April 13 to June 16.

Tract home kitchen by Smith & Williams for merchant builder George Buccola, House & Home, February 1956, front cover. Photo by Julius Sulman. 

Once I ran across the press release for this exhibition I remembered that Julius Shulman was the photographer of choice for this dynamic duo. Smith & Williams early on recognized the importance of good photography in marketing their modernist vocabulary of architecture in postwar Pasadena and Los Angeles County and commissioned Shulman for over 50 assignments during their most productive years between 1947 and 1964. Performing a Smith & Williams search in my 8,000 item Julius Shulman bibliography and 800 Shulman cover photos turned up 130 articles and numerous cover photos which went into the Smith & Williams bibliography below. 

McCoy, Esther, "What I Believe...A Statement of Architectural Principles," Los Angeles Times Home Magazine, January 8, 1956,  pp. 57-8.

Esther McCoy featured the duo's work in her monthly "What I Believe" column in the Los Angeles Times in 1956 (see above), a feather in any architect's cap.

Smith and Williams, Mobil gas station (Anaheim, Calif.), 1957, Photograph by Julius Shulman, Job No. 2202, May 8, 1956.

There is a companion show, "Gas Station Design, a Tour through the Collection, 1930-1965" which will run from February 15 through May 12 curated by Christina Chiang. 

Click on the below highlighted link directly below to access bibliography.