The Gamble House sits low on its site surrounded by lawns and cypress trees and embodying a subtle Japanese influence. It's a three-storey building with a wildly horizontal emphasis achieved by broad overhanging eaves creating deep shadows at each level.
Inside, the structure is expressed through polished timber beams which are hand-finished, curved on the corners and held together with metal straps. The different varieties of timber create a contrast of colour and texture which is really lovingly done.
The Greenes, influenced by the Arts and Crafts philosophy, achieved a very high standard of design and construction in a tiny oasis around Pasadena, like Charles Rennie Mackintosh did in Glasgow and Frank Lloyd Wright did in Chicago. People forgot about the Greenes - or rather chose to ignore them - because they became known as the builders of 'the ultimate bungalow'.
I am deeply sympathetic to this building, with its human scale, and have a great affection for the Arts and Crafts movement. That's not nostalgia but a belief in the architect as artist rather than computer operator.
Martin Joyce is a partner with de Brant Joyce and Partners, Harley St, London
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