Architects and Artists: The Work of Ernest and Esther Born

welcome everybody my name is Jennifer Syme executive director of the book club of California and we’re so happy to have you here to celebrate the official launch of the book clubs 230 fourth publication architects and artists the work of Ernest and Esther born we have many people to thank for this publication and their contributions a lot of them here with us tonight where is he hiding there why see you bill stout bills bill stout actually is the one who proposed this book to the publication’s committee many of the people on the publication’s committee were familiar with Ernests work on the plan of Sangala the book of California wine his bookish stuff but bill introduced us to his amazing renderings his amazing drawings his graphic designer Lee graphic design and the committee was just really excited about this project so thank you Bill for that vision bill also remained an important source of insight and suggestion all the way through the design process thanks also of course to Beatrice born Roberts and her husband tom Roberts Beatrice is the daughter of Ernest and Esther born and made available to the book club just a phenomenal treasure trove of material in the archives the estate of Ernest and Esther born which she allowed us to photo photograph and reproduce she also made herself available for reviewing the text assisting with research and for countless hours of interviews with the author Nicholas Ellsberg be and tom Roberts also provided crucial financial support when some additional research and travel was needed to really account for all of the material we wanted to include we also had assistance from a number of amazing collections throughout North America the Canadian center for architecture in Montreal the getty research institute the arts library university of california santa barbara the Environmental Design archives University of California Berkeley represented here tonight by Christina and Emily and really thank you for your help the center for creative photography and Tucson and the San Francisco history center at the san francisco public library all of the other photographs in the book were for the most part taken by Douglas Sandberg who is also with us tonight good job on that there were a lot of them the breadth and impact of Ernest and Esther borns work is really remarkable and it just it took the incredible design sense and patience of me cheat okie to pull it all together and organize it in such a beautiful and compelling way not only that she was just really great fun to work with and then it took the vast knowledge intelligence and deep resources of Nikola Souls Berg to synthesize the couples couples many pursuits into a cohesive cohesive narrative that was at once readable and is it once readable and large in scope this book could not have happened without either of them so tonight we’re going to have Nicholas walk us through the book and some of the highlights Nicholas is an historian archivist curator and writer he served 16 years 1989 through 2004 with the Canadian Centre for architecture in Montreal first as chief curator and then as director he also established the collections in the history of art and architecture than now formed the Special Collections library of the getty research institute his architectural publications include work on marcel marcel breuer carlo scarpa with major studies and exhibitions on frank lloyd wright air Arthur Erickson carlo dennis and john lautner he author he also caught authored and contributed essays to three of the catalogs for the pacific standard time the ongoing getty series celebrating california architecture and design and nicholas recently co-curated a highly successful exhibition landmark structures for a poetic universe at house erwin worth gallery in somerset please join me in welcoming Nicholas Salzburg I didn’t meet Esteban but but i did about 25 years ago I was in Philadelphia on business for the Canadian Centre for architecture and walk down the streets near where I was staying and saw in a bookshop window a magazine I knew very well avant-garde 1930s architecture magazine produced in Philadelphia called shelter Louie Cohn was one of the editorial board and was an enormously significant and adventurous periodical so went in and said did he have any more was just that one in the window he said don’t have to have that I’ve got these five boxes to that came from the editorial office and I looked through them and there were these amazing photographs of new architecture in

Mexico which esta an earnest born had submitted to shelter magazine so I I said well we’ll for fifty dollars do it and he said yes I think so so I I took them back to the Canadian center for architecture and thats summer with our photography collections one of the world’s great photography collections in the field of architecture and in turn came to work with us very experienced photographer in own right and I said your job is to find out what these are where the airs are who’s who and by that means I met be and Tom and became great friends and a much admirer of their osso bucco dinners and that was the start we then went to be and said are there more of these images and she said not just that I’ve got a lot of stuff so my introduction to Ernest born was through as two born and I think and hope I’m actually confident that one of the things that is going to happen with this book is that her reputation as one of the great architectural photographers who ever lived he is going to now be established so it was an oblique introduction to Ernest as bees put it she with her feet on the ground and him with his head in here I never got to meet him in quite such an unexpected way but the unexpectedness were vast bill stout called me one day and said let’s do a book of Book Cabo California they’ve never done our kitchen design before I’m nervous about it I suppose it’s do a 112 pages 115 maybe maybe we take eight or ten key projects and get going I couldn’t possibly do the research on a figure 2 figures that no one has really done that much research on we can’t do it in time so let’s be modest anyway we weren’t and I want to thank above all the amazing Jennifer who allowed something of the ambition that their work warrants to be produced our new members of the book club who supported this adventure I want to say before I talk about the subjects of the book something about the book itself in which is unbelievable design and the quality of the publication publishing art is in crisis extreme crisis trade publications that are well illustrated a harder and harder to find I’m my book proposals are rejected by every publish in the world because their knee the picture books nor textbooks as one of my editors said to me once but is this a reading book or a looking book and I said well you cannot talk about architecture and art unless you both read and look and he said well there’s no market for that anymore so I I think one of the things that this book does and I think the book club should be very proud of it is to set a possible model that may be the way to go is not the fifty-dollar poorly illustrated book with a big text or the quite well illustrated book with a bad text maybe the real model is to commit to an addition to lukes which is your history in your tradition and produce a book that you want to have in your hand and not read on the internet so I think this is a model we might start to look at as a way around this problem of publishing words and image together and so they talked together and misha co is incredibly patient with me because i always want the words on the page and the images on the page to to tell two narratives and I want them to intersect and designing a book well showing images at the right scale so you can see them properly and see them in conjunction with each other in the right way is absolutely critical to doing this right so that’s my little polemic but I think you’ve done an amazing job as an organization to allow this experiment to happen and I think you should be very very proud of it and it’s born a true San Franciscan born at the turn of the

century his father was a waiter come restauranteur depending on how his fortunes were doing one year to the next and he was from the start a maker of things beaten copper arts and crafty utensils and tools he had a print shop of his own at home and printed the high school magazine Polytechnic magazine he made little prince when he was 14 15 years old and invited his school friends over to see them so it was an engraver a maker of objects right from the very start and worked throughout his life in wood and metal and stone and typography and architecture and graphic design and teaching and planning and the list goes on and on so it was not an easy book to write because you are trying to fit a polymath ocurrir into a coherent story biographies make things coherent esta born wife also an architect in with something one should never forget that her vision is a photographer is developed because she was an architect and she worked with him in very many capacities both design and managing the office in New York and in San Francisco so she’s very much a partner to the activities of the born enterprise but they went their own ways as well and there were two immensely different personalities I think one patient this is esther borns I think truly astonishing a photograph a burn and Maybeck at the drafting table where she takes something that is critical and only an architect I think would know it that the triangle between the rule the eye the hand and pencil and the paper and the utter concentration of the person toward the page where an architectural concept is being developed is truly astonishing and I think it talks to her patients too there were many studies of this short for just photo session this is the one she seems to have have chosen to make a fine print off and she made all her own prince and then the hasty honest who took him men’s pride in the speed with which he could sketch so he is looking across to tomb my man manhattan in a sketch he said was drawn in two minutes and fully rendered with perfect shadows found in exactly the right place and i think when you think of the two together I think of this improvisatory haste and Andrew bigger on the one hand and this still concentration of her photographers I it starts with history all good things do and Ernest born on a traveling scholarship from Berkeley went to Europe in 1924 and immediately working this time in one of his favorite mediums which is that the black charcoal pencil goes to probably the oldest Greek building known in Corinth which every architectural student for 300 years had drawn and takes it from a viewpoint both below and a little bit to the right of the one that everyone else is used gets an amazing perspectival feeling as a result but he also suggests what I think interests him the most all his life what no one else have seen doing this study achieves which is to suggest how incredibly powerful the column is in holding that that enormously heavy piece of stone on the top and this idea of the balance of a structure that this thing now survived for thousands of years intact because it’s engineered with an instinct and knowledge that are perfect still in San Francisco these are

some of his sketches and you’re seeing again even on the higgledy-piggledy streets that he’s portraying he’s interested in certain structural things rather than the obvious are architectural he loves the telephone poles he loves the washing line and he loves ornament for the same reason that there are patterns involved in ornamental schemes ornamental work that are in fact supportive that this brett work holds together because it’s engineered as well and at that time at berkeley you were taught civil engineering in the architecture school and you were also taught as you see very well on the bottom graphic presentation and calligraphy was an enormous part of the program that was just published so you learned how to present a drawing on the page how to write the description of it in a different way and you will find as he perceives very often his inscriptions the typography varies by hand with each object so i think in this one you see the sense of moorish calligraphy good coming in and there’s the door to the same building and of course what he really loves is that the scaffolding that’s been put to protect it and he goes to the great Emanuel temple in Presidio Heights here under construction and again he’s intrigued by this like at the in the Corinthian temple by how such a structure can support such a great weight and if you’re ever down there looking huge the dome is it is absolutely vast and it’s supported by poured concrete so he’s getting that sense of structure across but he can’t resist portraying the scaffolding with even more brio than the object itself in 1928 he goes back to Europe with Esther for nearly a year and travels widely and everyone portrays the boulevards of Paris and the charms of its class and Ernest born portrays a new bridge under construction there’s the thing that intrigues him the most but one of the things you find here two things I think I wouldn’t straordinario steam ooze from medium with just absolute ease so he picks up whatever he has to draw with and draws with it and Bob hearing who’s here who was one of his students told me he just grabbed whatever you had on your desk to show you how to make your drawing perfect with one stroke and it might be a charcoal or pastel a pencil ink anything there and he knew these media so well and handled them so beautifully orvieto in Italy when he’s making use of Italian Hill villages and reintroduces the red carmine ink that was so familiar to the Renaissance and to the architects who built these buildings and develops a real mastery of that and he ends his career with black and red he starts it with black and red as we shall see return from Europe Esther and earnest and open a studio in New York so they don’t come home to sampans San Francisco in 1928 both go to work for architectural firms she gets the first job he gets the next one and then gradually they start to form a small studio of their own doing murals graphics advertising interiors storefronts most of that work we don’t have the record of but these cartoons for murals that he was producing Ernest was producing at that to that time show his his fascination with industry and these infrastructure things and many of them concern construction and the construction industries he’s working at this time for a firm doing work in Quranic this is the great Memorial Bridge in Harrisburg Pennsylvania and I think one of the interesting things he does in publishing it and clearly it’s his demand and his design for that page again the

perspective below and now letting one column one pile and bleed off the page so that one gets a sense of the money mentality the infinity of the object and then the tiny figures below as per fajr pointing out this immense scale it’s emphasized and it’s one of the first examples of his graphic brilliance by placing the whole thing high on the page so that your eye almost when you’re looking at the magazine looks up as you’re supposed to with the object I think it’s these kinds of skills that he brings to graphics that are really extraordinary architectural record hired him to redesign the covers and he came up with a palette a color scheme where each month would be different every single word is in the same script placed at a different point on the page and he called this visual propaganda that your task was to make the mark of the magazine the mark of the object very very plain so you knew it was architectural record you knew it you didn’t have that issue because it’s our engine the AR appears in a different place but it still carries the mark of the G took the journal this went for a year and a half and then either got bored with it always expensive or the publisher said we’ve got to be more standard and unfortunately this incredible annual palette was then abandoned this was a moment when architecture in the United States was moving away from the bows our tradition for the first time like Auto magazine and the redesign of these magazines was very intricately linked to the idea that we are now promoting a different kind of architecture you’re entering the mid years of the deep depression the possibility of building again is appearing and a new way to build new materials to build become very significant this was an astonishing discovery– astonishing because no one who discovered it not because I’m so amazing here is Frank Lloyd Wright’s first essay on the broadacre City idea and now immensely famous undertaking in which the future city will be dispersed rather than concentrated and done for the magazine Ernest is one of the art I deters and clearly says I’ll do the drawing to illustrate what broadacre city is all about one of the disappointments I face in architectural history all the time is that nobody actually browses through these magazines to find that this happened so this was one of many discoveries related to Frank Lloyd Wright that I made in connection with their work here you see the future again a series for American architect in which he’s the cover is describing on the one side how a material is produced and on the right-hand side how it’s being used and here you see an architecture for tomorrow being produced in port concrete and then on the left-hand side how concrete is produced so this is earnest looking to the challenge of the future there he is doing it for lectured granite he did their advertising for many many years with an enormous emphasis on how granite the new processes for stone cutting that allowed it asked ground to be used in this way and he loved stone I think more than anything else be it was the material that he was in love with but you see him already beginning to schema ties the water in the sky streaks of green in the sky little waves of blue Ford the water and it sort of more diagrammatic way one of the other campaigns he did was for me Carter which was a sort of polymer lay on lay on surface in many colors that was peculiarly useful for the post

Prohibition era because it didn’t absorb alcohol so if you spilled your whiskey it didn’t matter so he’s now showing it being used in bathrooms in a theater well it it will all be in an office in a bar setting so that you see the versatility of the material and these are totally invented interior designs but he’s clearly seeing them as as propositions for what interiors may look like you see on the material in the window and the bottom right hand side the same blue design of the waves the you’ve seen illustrating the water and if you analyze these see how few colors are really in them to give the sense of a very vibrant colorful environment that micarta can produce esta meanwhile in the mid 30s has been very disappointed in her own photography of their European trip she’s done wonderful photographs of New York on which own is true for his own amazing New York prints which are somehow didn’t come up on this go around but we’ll see them in the book they were living in New York and while she is learning to be a photographer they’re living very close to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and are introduced to the idea that there is a new architectural movement associated with larocca dennis’s revolutionary movement in Mexico which they should go to look at so together they decide to produce a book or an article and then end up doing both on the new architecture in Mexico Ernest doing the design and some of the drawings as they’re doing all the photographs esta moving to Mexico for nearly a year to live and to interview all the architects and go out to see all their works but like Ernest before her she starts with history so as she looked forward to the promise of a new architecture for tomorrow and a new society that it will serve she goes back to the oldest buildings and known and earnest in this fantastic illustration shows how the booze a was doing just the same thing as the Mayans and so here she is recording the ancient monuments of Mexico the colonial monuments and the peasant villages and their dwellings looking very hard at these in this series called picturesque Mexico of which there are hundred and fifty images we know of all of them astonishing and then finding that in the vernacular the modern can be discovered as well and here she is showing a peons house as a proto Martin monument I’ll go back one second to me elaborate point about it so the ancient dwellings in the straw and wicker expression portrayed with a dark palette and the modern proto modern dwelling the whole photograph is light it’s the brightness of the future the romance of the past are brought into comparison with each other and that everything she does has this immense strategic quality to it the whiteness of this krakow and the smoothness of it and the blankness of it has made so much more intense by the little trees and their shadows and those amazing stone walls here’s one example of the work that she produced this is the earliest work by paragon luis barragán do great mexican architect she finds him she takes his portrait she discovers this work and its draws it down the middle and she takes these I think ravishingly abstract views of how barragan conceives of these very still interiors she goes to record Diego Rivera taking his part in the agricultural reform and here

addressing a crowd of workers in a rural area as they move into this genuinely new society that cardenas and his party they became the IRP unfortunately but for many years it was not like that and then here supported of diego rivera in New York shortly are today first meeting and then Esther and I see had great ability to perceive their personalities here the ebullient the flamboyant the quiz it called the witty and the rather mourn for there are many studies for each of these and the one she select and crops in this way is is is the one that brings Frieda to lie not as a poser anymore but as someone with some profound secrets and some deaton Melancholy of her own there is their house the one in which lay on Trotsky came to live and seduced her or she seduced him and lived shortly before he was a member but that’s the famous Rivera studio by 10 Gorman asked his photograph and they move she comes back shortly after he has decided to move to San Francisco because they’re expecting a child who’s with us tonight and they don’t want to raise the child in New York so they return to San Francisco her from Mexico he’s been down to visit and work with her and the very first thing that Ernest does his work on this model house for a narrow lot and takes this very adventurous view of her photograph of the model and his collage he collages it into a drawing to give the feeling of the indoors and outdoors converging this is all now the moment when housing is the major issue in architecture how to do the small house how to rehouse the migrants and this is an exhibition that he does for the Planning Association in which it’s called what should we do for the Joads and this is about how to make housing to accommodate people who in desperate need of it and there’s an exhibition installation for 1939 this is one of the most astonishing things you could imagine this was actually done on Treasure Island but before the fair and it was association with the planning conference in Oakland and the idea that you pastes logans buildings complicated and then you put all the parts of a building to show how intricate a process it is to produce a building and then you have an exhibition in which you can actually read the magazines that show architecture and how to make it extraordinary thing they move on just before the war 1941 to design a development of social housing north beach how demolished and here are earnest drawings it was delayed by the war built afterwards and here as two photographs from exactly the same point of view the finish work and this symbiosis between the two and again I think you see the vitality and the energy behind one and the calm behind the other very interesting development they both worked on the on the golden great exhibition this is earnest draw sketch for an element which was built but not quite to his design which are the wind baffles coming into the entrance and this incredible modernist scheme with the blue lighting on the bottom and the whole affair was about lights and colored lights and then good

to welcome to California sign in the back and then one of the many contributions that he made his architect and she was to make another as one of the official photographers of the fair was this little pavilion ford girl Monta in which they use just white light and it so I think wonderful structure beautifully beautifully photographed his best remembered contribution though he designed to other official pavilions and design the interior of many others is a great mural for this I’m Francisco pavilion which was part of the to the California State pavilion call the industries of this san francisco bay area and there’s an enormous energy in the cartoons the hand-drawn cartoon to this out of which these enormous murals were developed this among his pavilion interiors this one to me is the most exciting it’s for the San Francisco Planning Commission a very awkward space as many of them were and he takes this incredibly radical idea of painting the ceiling as a sky and then using color and light and these graphic collages to tell in fact an incredibly complicated story of how planning permissions are granted and he does it in this very clever graphic way it’s sort of again it’s visual propaganda it’s showing you how public utilities are developed and how the planning process works to produce a new and more orderly City will come back to the new and more orderly city toward the end and we’re getting there another great discovery and it gets right there in the correspondence of bicoid right and I never quite known it when we acquired at the canadian centre from be the great photographs esther born did of the hannah house in san francisco she was in fact she and Ernest went to to write or he went to them and in any case the upshot was that they were going to produce virtually a special edition of architectural architectural forum on this house with an 85 page essay by anas born some comments by right and her portfolio of photography magazine changed hands and became part of a bigger conglomerate and they abolished the idea of having a special issue even for this amazing thing she takes the photographs and he comes back again and she takes another to at least of him in the Hannah house and i loved this photograph because again she won’t let him pose and beef frank lloyd wright he has to become someone who was actually humbled by his own creation in this image who looks rather odd by the light and the fall of the light that he’s caused to cast and I think she must have had immense patience and an incredible unwillingness to put up with the desert word for it but I won’t use it from people like this who’s who whose ego gets in the way sometimes if you’re seeing who they were and she got through it and she found out who they were so here’s a Hannah house as it was and should still be I wish it were hitting straight into the landscape which was the whole point of it and a house with no boundaries at all the whole thing is held up from the middle and it’s a feeling you don’t get any more with the alterations that came in the 1950s but a wonderful portrayal of a wonderful building and here the house is designed for children to play in and there you see be Roberts on the top right playing with the children of hannah’s on the top and the building blocks that Frank Lloyd Wright bought for the children to play with to design their city of tomorrow their new broadacre was going to be designed in this house where the children would be inspired and you see there how the house is entirely

supported from the middle and it opens completely to the landscape a word about the Hannah house and it’s a discovery made only for the end of writing the book and I found some correspondence when Frank Lloyd Wright had the show to end all shows it’s known as it’s great exhibition of 1940 at the Museum of Modern Art he writes to Esther and says could you blow up then he gives a massive scale 20 by 30 all your Hannah house photographs for me because they are going to anchor the whole exhibition and we have no installation pictures of the exhibition but it seems pound that they did I found the delivery slip and the fact that they’ve been received at the modern he writes back and said they’re so great would you now go to the Sydney prosit house which wasn’t quite finished and do the same thing because i’m going to do those two and the images of the 30 Research Institute Thank You web show that house which succeeds in a way better than the Hannah house in the cast of light the openness the freedom the Bassett house for those of you who don’t know was rented by GI de tu papa by de toi claw and eichler said with his enormous family he actually cried when he had to leave it he said this is where I Klah homes were born this is where the idea that an average middle class family could live in an ideal batting was was born and he would constantly in the years afterwards go and bang on the door and make the illness let his architects for the I Klah homes see where he had lived and what the inspiration was I introduced paranoid right not because they’ve done so much work with him all these years and he haunts me unfortunately but because I think a lot of what we call the Bay Area always a lot to write and to these two houses and to the other things that were going on this in fact which came a sort of Taiwan and everybody in design new this house and experienced it and as the Bay Area style as it’s called matures after the war these are it’s its key points but one of the greatest discoveries of doing the work on Ernest born and Esther because she was deeply involved in all five of them was that he did all the exhibition’s related to Bay Area Architecture from nineteen thirty eight to nineteen forty nine the first-ever architectural exhibition at the San Francisco Museum this now the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and on and on and this first one the air for the AIA convention this is not the area conventions one before that for Northern California or architecture the scale of the images is really unusual the idea that you put plan on the outer going side of the concertina and the pictures of the building on the other and that you would form these concertina Wars was absolutely extraordinary I think his contribution to exhibition design is really amazing this is the great one 1949 the very famous one and again no one seems to quite realized that he laid out the magazine in which it was published and that’s the layout with the redwoods in the middle of one of the spreads to give the point about what the style was a number of his own houses then were built and this one twenty20 great highway which is on and in terms of I think small buildings his unqualified masterpiece they don’t the land for many years they couldn’t afford to build on it and then gradually in the late 40s early 50s got their house built and furnished it with this amazing structure on the walls for hanging and ever-changing exhibition of the collections of maps and prints and everything else that intrigue them and it’s a house that falls on a very ordinary Street in terms of the venality of the surrounding houses it takes two and a half full lots which is what really oh no it’s too full lots but he’s actually three fold out so he splits them into one and a half and one haha

and then in the one and a half lock screens the house to the street but from the upper studio windows you can still see the storms building in the ocean really rule Rams it up so he has a very very open space in the rear with these two great windows ANDed trouble heights feeling his most profitable commission that honest with Estes work got after the war was four aces where they redid most of these spelling flaws waiting rooms staff loungers cafeteria dressing room for women and ants and so on wonderful couple of glass slides the drawings for most of his practice have been lost but the Environmental Design archives berkeley through these generosity have these and this amazing series of standard furniture that he developed for poor mesas so that everything was the same structure in the same materials but was used in disport dis supported in different ways to serve different purposes good photographs by Stuyvesant of that immediately after the war proposal for the UN to move to San Francisco now quite a famous story in which with William worst Ernest develops rather hasty design I think a very awkward one in many ways but it was displayed for the delegates to the united nations convention when they met her it then went on to New York to say that the San Francisco strawberry Bay would be one possibility for the UN headquarters what’s most interesting to me about this is not the i think while the hastily concede schemes william was there but and it’s you this is perceiving the whole project is coming in by plane into what we should be the new I port on your island that this is the UN and people from all the world are going to fly in and the first thing you ll see beneath the clouds is this great monument to peace and the second thing that’s interesting because he goes on to work on the designs for Bart is this idea of the bridge and abridged structure on the bottom left-hand side and his love for fun the narrow things holding up great structures I think one of the greatest disappointments was that the Pacific School of Religion after having worked with him very very hard to produce this wonderful new scheme for their campus in in which the old and the new are integrated in really extraordinary ways but they they backed out and it didn’t happen but in this era I think in the late forties early fifties he’s doing these things at a relatively small scale with a new sense of money mentality and it’s modern but it’s not in some ways or its ancient and modern all at one time and I think that comes to a climax with his greek theater modifications on the Berkeley campus if anyone who has any power get them to fix it it looks terrible and it’s a wonderful building so here he was trying to build the infrastructure buildings that were never there the entry who entry hall some of the facilities that were needed without actually impinging on the original building so splitting it in this very ingenious way and in drawings in charcoal that are absolutely ravishing with a little pastel green for the trees barely visible in the background working with how credits happens first project and here he is demonstrating one of the schemes that was not built it gets to be a very complicated story in which he compromised too much I think and now the university is gani to to even further prefer the country measures makes it look like a ruin there’s great visions for San Francisco emerging and earnest with a partner proposes a completely thinking of the

Embarcadero at the point where you’re worse the scheme is now being developed the moving of the port the moving of the markets the building of the bridges has all resulted in the drew waterfront being in crisis but it’s interfered with by lots of tracks for trains used to serve the port and so on and so forth report is now move further south and so this very ambitious scheme for restructuring the entire embarcadero is developed I think again a little too hasty and thinking what the Altium buildings look like it’s sort of Brasilia without Brasilia without thick caffeine so because Brazil without the coffee but he’s already now thinking this does not go for political reasons there’s enormous debate between about who’s who has the right to determine what hamster this land so he’s hired by the Port Authority in the Med challenges it and then the same things happens he doesn’t do anything with Fisherman’s Wharf and the merchants come and say why did you forget about us so he does something for them to at the request I’ll come to that in a minute there’s the Embarcadero part of the scheme this is another interesting story this is before the flyover freeway was quite built and he’s pushing it to the left and basically changing the structure so you have a genuine promenade underneath a project that very sadly didn’t in the end the earthquake resolve the problem and then he goes to Fisherman’s Wharf for the port authority at the request of the merchants there who said they’d like a more structured scheme for their activities and in an amazing book that has their producers for this project and which I makes it perfectly apparent why it never succeeded and she says the most terrible things about the political planning process that she hatched and she put it into into print but it’s probably the most beautiful public report that I’ve ever seen so here is the scheme in which he structures Fisherman’s Wharf and orchestrates it into a series of well-managed space is still full of life and vitality and still getting a certain San Francisco feeling about it so there’s a very much feeling of the bay and everything that goes on in these schemes you see the unit’s here where he’s showing that scale and structure don’t diminish the human being at all and the picturesque can survive with the organized the merchant screamed and said but what do we do when you pull how do we make our money in the year that you’re building it so that was the end of that one too I think it’s a very effective way to do with it it’s darn sight better than what exists Alcatraz a very famous story in which the island is proposed for redevelopment transferred to the city from the federal government and this city has to come up with a plan for it in a very short time it actually work goes for four years there end up being essentially two major one is from a texas billionaire which conceives of alcatraz as a possible playground with the zoo and ernest born with a development partner from New York yeah comes up with a scheme which is really an enchanting one um so he can see with a complete mini city rather like the embarcadero and here there is to be an educational institution there’s to be housing there’s hotels as a marina and it’s I think the one thing that had forgotten was where the water come from in the power but that was to be resolved what he was proposing with you look across the bay

and you see on Alcatraz a sort of idealized version of what San Francisco itself looks like so it’s not something that’s radically new it’s something that’s echoing this this city on the peninsula in the middle of the bay and then this great spout the water like the UN in a funny way marking the landscape with something that speaks for peace on the environment and all those things I’ve watched the archives of him presenting this to the City Council and it’s the best picture I have a versus point which he just stands up there rumbles of our mumbles away and then talks about Joe Doakes from Texas who produced the other alternative in somebody in the crowd to digitise what did he see TDCJ I see he said I said Joe Doakes from Texas his prayer so he was an outspoken man I don’t think you did any good at getting this done in any case the Native Americans occupied it before this could proceed either plan the one from Texas was approved and it’s deeply it’s now very much suspected that it was an oil man and that he actually saw a good a good water channel for oil tankers to come in and that’s why that scheme was proposed he does for wonderful drawings at different times of day so each each from a tip of a different view of article Alcatraz but one in the morning one in midday one in the evening really fantastic now the real vision is a mystical actually happens because he gets engaged to help with many aspects of design for but and this is a drawing he does it William worst as request of what the structure of the book the viaducts look like a truly fabulous drawing and you see the same drawing style as he doesn’t greek theatre with this hint of green pastel and his love of the bridge coming back I argue with my friends but I think this is a masterpiece this is one of his to his to stations that he did this is the Gulen Park this nation which was recognized worldwide on its opening in the 1990s 72 as being a really masterly piece of architecture wonderful piece of public work and dealing with the great problem a part which is it so deep but how do you get the rule light into down so that you don’t feel cramped and you don’t feel underground and if you spend time in that but creation you’ll see how that great roof bringing the light down to the tracks so the journal never in the dark and then a wonderful public park this is in very good shape actually um unlike the Greek Theatre and then as he’s well going a little bit he was still assigned to do or the signage and he is born designing but parking street signs they’ve been severely criticized as not being clear enough as the typography being too small but I think they’re really lovely and they survive so they clearly worked well enough to stay the book ends with an epilogue and because there is a whole area of Ernest pawns career in particular that I’m not dealing with that much which is this last phase of his life when he’s designing public monuments inscriptions plaques memorials broadsides books everything to do with words and stones and letters that you can imagine and starting in 1945 when there is already a War Memorial built for the quarry man of the town where the Fletcher granite company was for whom he had done and still maintained the graphic advertising relationship and these are esters absolutely ravishing views of this

quarry man’s memorial and the contrast between the three stones that Ernest users the Kratt stone the Ross town two different kinds of raw stone seems to talk with its inscription and the fall of the light and the way the light Falls differently both to memory and to assorted immortality I think it’s a wonderful project which i haven’t seen but feel that after looking at esther’s pictures i almost don’t have to the memorial to Herbert Hoover that’s Branford and at this point Ernest is looking at a little or derived from that early scheme from the 1940s for a memorial where you stand on the planet if you go to UN plaza and see his inscriptions in the ground and his signifiers in bronze and brass which he did in UN plaza with halperin and the stone the monolith that is there all of which is much better than that I think John’s Halpin really failed us on that one but I mean that’s rather beautifully orchestrated towards where you’re standing on the planet and so with Herbert Hoover the engineer i think is certain sympathy develops and this tiny little memorial is marked by an an astrolabe and some intersecting lines in the craving that relate to the cosmic geometries to which we all belong if we’re old enough and we think about he closed down his architectural office 19 we argue about when exactly I’m not going to say but around 1971 partly because he had made a commitment to his colleague water horn at Berkeley to undertake a series of major studies of medieval buildings and I like very much to see the story coming back to where we start in 1924 and it’s why I made a little too much point about his love for the scaffolding of the bridges of Paris and the Great Synagogue and a german bar in cry one that the wooden building now becomes of enormous interest in him and these are from a series of very many incredibly beautiful watercolors in Flanders and northern France and then in England Julie spoke oh yeah we keep with horn published much of this work and culminating with the planets of Sangha which is this great absolutely spectacular exhibition and incredible luxurious series of volumes on this Carolingian planner of an ideal city and a lot of it comes together his idealization of what San Francisco might look like the ideal city of the UN all of these things and he’s now looking with Walter horn at this ideal city from the 1950s early 50s onwards he’s designing many many plaques oh gawd inscriptions and then these broadsides so I called the epilogue a man of letters because letters making of them is what interesting so much and I particularly like this one because you see in the same way that the letter is the same as a building has a structure that is supported falls within a grid it is a very similar object to the Corinthian temple with its column supporting it and that it belongs to a certain scaffolding underneath that makes it all work as any book designer is aware so I call it a man of letters because the letter the inscription first cut into stone when we first new

language and then made in print is almost a model of what architecture is and and maybe architecture should all do type of graphic design as well then then almost the last thing he did was the book of California wine and I think a very moving drawing done as eyesight’s not a hundred percent his graphic skill is still masterly this is the third maquette the cartoon for the end paper in which i think the lovely thing to do at the end of your life he draws the revival of all life as the vine comes back to life and puts in those little droves you find in the Flemish tapestry goes back to the kind of ornamental cali graphic drawing of the world that you saw in his drawing of the chiro on screen and i thank you very much