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Film by Eric Minh Swenson, Music by Casey Martin Dolan
Houses of the Sundown Sea:
The Architectural Vision of Harry Gesner
By Lisa Germany
New Photography by Juergen Nogai
“My basic philosophy and approach to architecture is from somewhere
primeval. It comes from the heart as well as the head.” —Harry Gesner
For more than sixty years, observers and architectural aficionados alike have strained to catch glimpses of maverick architect Harry Gesner’s spectacular homes in Southern California. Cantilevering over a sixty-foot drop-off in the hills above Calabasas; and another, tucked away on the grounds of the Getty Museum Center in Los Angeles. A self-taught architect and green design pioneer, Gesner (b. 1925) is still inventing, still creating, still designing.
Houses of the Sundown Sea: The Architectural Vision of Harry Gesner (Abrams; April 2012; U.S. $75.00/Can. $86.00; ISBN 978-1-4197-0049-1) by Lisa Germany is the first book to examine Gesner’s architecture, tracing his long life and his career from 1945 to the present and opening the doors to fifteen intriguing homes, all located in or near Los Angeles and built, for the most part, during the 1950s through the 1970s. An insightful and revealing text accompanies new photography by Juergen Nogai along with historical photographs and Gesner’s own drawings, floor plans, and blueprints drawn from his remarkably rich archive. Gesner’s utterly unique, often eccentric and unorthodox designs are outside the canons of doctrinaire modernism, yet he is undoubtedly a Modernist, and one whose romantic, quixotic nature has caused his truly extraordinary body of work to be overlooked by many—until now.
Malibu, Calif.- On Saturday, April 28th, Chocolatebox Café