L.A.'s Great Unknown (Architect) - L.A. Times

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L.A.'s Great Unknown (Architect) - L.A. Times

Postby mtwall » Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:33 pm

Nice to see some recognition for Ed Fickett in today's Los Angeles Times:

By Sean Mitchell, Special to The Times
June 29, 2006

"Designer Edward H. Fickett pushed postwar California toward indoor-outdoor living. Tens of thousands of homes bear his signature flow, yet few people know his name."

"THOUGH he designed about 60,000 houses by one estimate — 10,000 in the San Fernando Valley alone — Modernist architect Edward H. Fickett never achieved the public prestige of such midcentury contemporaries as Richard Neutra, Craig Ellwood, Gregory Ain, Clifford May, A. Quincy Jones and even his former colleague Pierre Koenig. Which is not to say he was unappreciated.

"When Fickett died in 1999 at the age of 76, President Clinton sent an American flag and a letter of condolence to Fickett's widow. The American Institute of Architects called him "an American hero" in noting his passing. By that time, Fickett had designed homes for, among others, Charlie Chaplin, Ava Gardner, Joan Crawford, Irene Dunne, Groucho Marx, Jimmy Durante, Jack Benny and Dick Clark.

"...Two leading reasons appear to be that Fickett shunned publicity and that he designed tract homes for developers, or "merchant builders," as they were once known. One of the developers he worked with was Joseph Eichler, whose wider reputation includes the common misconception that he was an architect, which he was not.

"...Somewhere in between Eichler and the worst saltbox developers, there were a lot of tract houses in Southern California being designed by good Modern architects who did not get much recognition in their time. This is something we're only now learning. It's a myth that tract housing was just tract housing. Fickett was terribly important to the built history of Southern California, but people don't know about him."

"THE son of a building contractor, Fickett was a fourth generation Angeleno who graduated from USC in 1937 and then earned three graduate degrees from MIT in city planning, architecture and engineering. After serving in World War II with the Navy Seabees, he returned to Los Angeles with the desire to "create a home for every serviceman," says his widow, Joyce Fickett. "After the war he felt they wanted open spaces to live in," which contributed to his interpretation of the California ranch style, marked by open floor plans, raised ceilings, partial walls and lots of glass — "bringing the outside in," as the late architect liked to say.

"His houses, admirers say, had flow".

"Although he designed large homes in the 1950s and '60s for wealthy clients such as Georgia Frontiere, the former Los Angeles Rams owner, Fickett was also interested in building for the middle-class family. He designed single-story tract homes that included many of the features of more expensive custom homes...."

***********************************************************

The bulk of Ed Fickett's built environment still exists in the San Fernando Valley, his signature style barely discernable beneath decades of multi-cultural migrations. mishaps and mutations. Undo all that gratuitous decorative muck and his simple, clean architecture emerges, as relevant and affordable now (relatively speaking anyway) as when erected.

There was a time, not that long ago (relatively speaking anyway) when Ed Fickett's modernist homes with their varied rooflines and floorplans populated hundreds of acres of land surrounded by vast stretches of orange and walnut groves. Fickett made modern home design accessible to the masses. Thousands of his homes, mostly in the Valley, are crying to be restored to their original glory --- still an affordable and do-able task. If you are up for a little challenge and have the inclination to exercise your design legs and restoration skills, now is a really good time.


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Fickett Fotos

Postby home_boy » Fri Jun 30, 2006 5:54 am


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Postby Joe » Sun Jul 02, 2006 8:07 pm

nice article. I like this quote:

"People forget that Modernism was supposed to appeal to the masses," says Los Angeles architect Chris Rudin

I thought I have read a lot about Fickett and Eichler, but this article mentions them working together... I have never heard that. Anyone have a clue about what Sean Mitchell, the writer, is talking about? I think he's is a bit confused.

Wanna read more on Fickett, we have some good threads, here, on Lotta Living to search and read.

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So that's

Postby modfan » Mon Jul 03, 2006 6:42 am


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Postby moderns-r-us » Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:11 am


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Postby Stephen » Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:36 am

Stephen Meade
SoCal Realtor - DRE 01378749
Pacific West Assoc. of Realtors President-Elect
http://www.OCModHomes.com
http://www.CliffMaySocal.com
and
Cliff May Homeowner


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