Gulf Coast Architecture
Last week we gave a little lecture at the Ocean Springs library about Gulf Coast Architecture, hence the name of this post. While the coast is chock-full of interesting buildings and spaces we decided to focus on contemporary architecture (because hey, that's what we love!), with "contemporary" meaning ahead of its time, not necessarily ahead of 2016. The buildings we focused on were the Charnley-Norwood House by Louis Sullivan and Frank Llyod Wright (power team!), the Gryder House by Bruce Goff, the houses of Carroll Ishee (remember this guy? We did a lil' ol' blog post awhile back on his work. If you missed it, don't fret and READ HERE), and the Ohr O'Keefe Museum by the one and only Frank Gehry.
The Charnley-Norwood house, located on East Beach in Ocean Springs, was built in 1890 and also goes by the name Bon Silene. It was built for a wealthy lumber baron by the name of James Charnley and was later purchased by yet another lumber baron (I'm pretty sure we need to bring back the tern "baron"...so fancy), Fredrick Norwood. The house is indicative of the work Frank Lloyd Wright would later go on to produce with the hallmark features being linear plans, connectivity between inside and out, and day-lighting techniques. The Charnley-Norwood was severely damaged in Hurricane Katrina, sat untouched for three years, and was brought back to life through a great deal of hard work and determination.
The Gryder House has long been a favorite of ours here on the coast and we were able to take a peek and get a tour from the owner himself, Bill Gryder. Bruce Goff, a quirky architect from the mid-west who is said to have been an architecture prodigy (he was interning at firms at age 12...holy smokes!), built the home in 1960 and was hired by the Gryder's because they wanted something "different". When asked what her favorite color was by Goff, Mrs. Gryder replied that it was "glitter" (if you are reading this, your favorite color is glitter, and you need a building designed, we know just the firm for you...ahem, TALLstudio!!!). Goff set to work designing the residence, which includes koi ponds and turret-like balconies off of each bedroom, and thus one of the most iconic buildings in Mississippi was born.
Carroll Ishee has long been a source of intrigue, not only for TALLstudio but also for the Ocean Springs community, and his homes in the area are highly sought after and prized. He was a lawyer, realtor, developer, and designer who was known for quirky houses built using inexpensive materials, large windows, and natural materials such as tree trunks for columns and door pulls. Ishee would find the cheapest lots in town, the swampy tree filled lots, and build the homes as he pleased and sell them off. He is said to have kept keys to most of his homes so he could pop in whenever he desired and check on things. Legend says that if you lived in an Ishee house you might come home and find him sitting on your couch!
The last building we chose to discuss was the Ohr O'Keefe Museum built to house the work of the zany George Ohr. Ohr was a potter known for his paper thin pots, detailed folding of the clay, and his personality. The Ohr was designed by the world renown architect, Frank Gehry, and he is said to have designed the museum around the live oak trees on the property with the individual buildings sitting within the trees like Ohr's pots.
We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get up in front of a crowd (a whopping 30 people!) and tell the stories behind these buildings and their designers. If you have any structure in particular on the Gulf Coast that intrigues you, let us know. We are working on a second installment!
The Gryder House in construction - 1959
Gryder House Entry
Gryder House fireplace- look at that tile!
The Gutman House by Bruce Goff (Gulfport, MS)- destroyed by fire.
The underside of the Gutman House...loving those supports!
A sweet little Carroll Ishee.
Look at that dappled light on that Ishee wall...swoon.
"Pods" at the Ohr. Pods and trees and trees and pods.
The Charnley-Norwood House
Burled wood and warm light.