There is perhaps no place in the United States more beautiful than Southern California. With its beautiful landscape and hustling metropolises, the modern mecca of the States is perhaps most well-known for its architecture, playing host to some of the most gorgeous homes of the modern era. Plenty of big-name designers have tried their hand in the sun-soaked sector, creating some of the most amazing modern homes for both the Hollywood elite and industry professionals.
These homes are now the subject of their own study. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) announced that on Saturday, Oct. 29, they would once again host the Ellen Browning Scripps Luncheon, featuring a lecture on the midcentury modern architecture of Southern California. The luncheon, which promises a brunch, the lecture, ocean views from the MCASD and access to the art galleries following the luncheon.
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While all midcentury modern architecture will be up for discussion, the main topic of the lecture will be the famous “Case Study House program.” The project, which began in 1945 backed by Arts & Architecture magazine, aimed to answer the ongoing worry that many Americans held at the time: would there be enough houses to rehome the returning U.S. soldiers from World War II? With the question on his mind, A&A editor John Entenza enlisted several famed architects of the time – including names like Richard Neutra and Craig Ellwood – to design “modern, affordable, easily-built” houses, according to Forbes Magazine.
“It is important that the best materials available be used in the best possible way in order to arrive at a good solution of each problem, which in the overall program will be general enough to be of practical assistance to the average American in search of a home in which he can afford to live in,” Entenza said in the program’s initial announcement.
While 36 homes were designed, 20 still remain today, and are quite a sight to behold. The new designs ushered in a new era of modernity for architecture, one that the 50s and 60s are still quite associated with today.
As for the luncheon, the lecture will be headlined by Barbara Goldstein, who served as the editor for Arts & Architecture from 1980 until 1985. She will discuss the program at length, as well as her friendship with Esther McCoy who wrote extensively about the houses. The lecture will conclude with a discussion about the relevance of the houses, many of which remain in the hills of Southern California, today.
The luncheon is the 58th iteration of the annual event, held in honor of Ellen Browning Scripps, a well-known newspaper publisher and suffrage activist. Upon arriving in San Diego in 1890, she fell in love with the nearby village of La Jolla, and helped the development of schools, churches and libraries within the town borders, earning her the mantra of the village matriarch. The annual gala aims to serve one of her most famous statements: “ you must treat life well and live it in the right way … so it be will be good to you.” Featuring a wide variety of topics – from food to architecture to art – the Ellen Browning Scripps Luncheon is perhaps the best way to celebrate her life and legacy.
Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased on the La Jolla Historical Society website.
Photography by: JayLazarin / Getty Images