Landmarks: The Gamble House, Pasadena

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The Independent Culture
One of the buildings I really admire is a stunning house that was built for the Gamble family in Pasadena, Southern California, designed by the architects Charles and Henry Greene in 1908. They worked around Pasadena at the turn of the century and, before the outbreak of the First World War, designed a number of idiosyncratic houses, each packed with outstanding detailing.

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

(Photograph omitted)

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