a2modern was contacted by Anna Baumgarten, UM student who would like to have access to a modern home for her film project. We asked Anna to write up a description of what she is doing and what she is interested in. If anyone is interested in being part of the project, contact Anna directly. Thanks!
“My name is Anna Baumgarten, and I am a Screen Arts and Cultures (SAC) student at UofM. I’m currently producing a short film for the University’s highest level production class, SAC 423. SAC 423 is an artistic collaborative effort between students from LS&A, Ross School of Business, Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design, and the School of Music Theater and Dance, in which we create a 20-30min film which goes on to premiere at the International Traverse City Film Festival. From there, it will enter the global festival circuit.
The film is a coming of age story about a dangerously unhealthy friendship between two teenage girls, which deals with blackmail and bullying.
When I discovered a2modern, I was thrilled! My production designer has been enthusing about mid-century modern architecture as the focal point of our film, and I’m hoping that the members of this community can help us out. We’re hoping to shoot several scenes of our film inside a modern home during a weekend in March or April (currently our preference is March 14th, 15th, and 16th or the 28th, 29th and 30th). We have a talented, experienced crew, that knows how to respect a space and capture it beautifully.
Here is what we’re looking for in a house more specifically :
– We would like to shoot interiors: a master bedroom (ideally with a walk-in or large closet), a living room, and a kitchen – open concept kitchen/living with a foyer area is ideally what we’re looking for.
– modern furnishings
– We’re pretty flexible, so even if you’re home doesn’t match our description perfectly, we’re still interested!
If anyone is willing to talk further with me regarding our film production, please feel free to contact me at BadGirlsProduction@umich.edu. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!”
George B. Brigham, architect
515/517 Oxford Road, Family Home and Architectural Studio, 1940
515/517 Oxford Road was the home and studio of George B. Brigham, Jr. (1889-1977), the man who introduced Modernism to Ann Arbor. Brigham was recruited by the University of Michigan from Cal Tech in 1930 to teach in the school of architecture. In the last three years, there have been three major exhibits that have featured the work of George B. Brigham with a fourth to open in July 2014 at the U-M Museum of Art.
In addition to his work at the University, Brigham designed 40 modern homes in the area (see attached map). He was nationally recognized as an early pioneer in the use of pre-fabricated materials in residential architecture. Brigham’s efforts as an innovator expanded beyond structural architecture since he established one of the first architectural clinics in the country. At 515/517 Oxford Road, students under his supervision were able to supplement their training by gaining experience with actual design problems selected from Brigham’s architectural practice. This enduring legacy of mentoring the next generation influenced the work of many architects including Bob Metcalf. Metcalf notes that “I never go by the house at 517 Oxford without thinking of its generative function,” he says. “Many architects got their early training there. One or two were always working on the most recent idea Professor Brigham had for a new way of building. ”
a2modern, a homeowners group working to build awareness of and appreciation for mid-century modern architecture, considers this property a significant community asset. We urge that the planning commission support proposals that maintain the original design integrity instead of approving an exception to change it beyond recognition. The home’s historic character can be retained and any adaptive reuse should be sympathetic to the structure’s original intent while meeting existing planning codes and setbacks. This approach offers a win-win solution that balances neighborhood values with reuse needs. The adaptive reuse of 1917 Washtenaw Avenue in 1956 demonstrates the viability and longevity of the suggested approach. The architect was George B. Brigham, Jr.
a2modern Board Tracy Aris, Nancy Deromedi, Linda Elert, Grace Shackman
e. Rezoning Recommended for Delta Gamma Annex, Ann Arbor Chronicle, January 24, 2014.
Public Comment on Proposed Changes to George Brigham Home and Studio 515/517 Oxford Road, Ann Arbor Hills
On January 23, 2014, the Ann Arbor Planning Commission met to review proposed changes to the property at 515/517 Oxford Road. This site is the former home and studio of Architect George B Brigham, Jr. recognized for his substantial contributions to the community and modern architecture (see fact sheet). The Planning Commission accepted the Planning Department’s Staff Report that the area plan (which is basically a conceptual, here’s-what- we’re-thinking site plan) and rezoning request be approved. These actions will now move on to City Council for action.
The Site Plan
The two-story house at 515 Oxford includes two one-story wings. It is currently a rental property with three units – a studio apartment, one-bedroom apartment, and four-bedroom apartment – and a maximum occupancy of 8 people. One of the units is in a former garage. The proposed plan was to demolish a character-defining one-story wing on the north side and replace it with a new two-story addition in a different footprint. This would quite radically change the home’s appearance.
To Robb Burrough’s credit, he stated at the January 23, 2014 meeting that he wouldn’t be the architect who demolished George Brigham’s house! The site plan (which to date still shows substantial changes to the house) will be considered again at a later meeting. It’s likely that the new site plan will include a two-story addition to the rear of the two-story part of the house.
The owner, Dan Pampreen, of Dan’s Houses is proposing to alter the use of the house which is presently zoned R4A (Multiple-Family Dwelling District). He is requesting a special exception to have it rezoned to R2B (Two-Family Dwelling District and Student Dwelling District). This would allow the owner to convert the three-unit house as it exists today to a sorority annex with a maximum of 20 occupants. The rezoning does not require it to remain solely for sorority use in the future.
The Planning Department’s Staff report (see linked from the website) outlines why a special exemption is needed and being requested. The property owner’s existing proposal will not confirm to the area and placement standards of the R4A district and would result in a non-conforming structure. Meeting these requirements of the structure’s existing zoning places limits on its renovation as “group housing.“
The Area Plan
City Planning Staff recommended the area plan exception be approved since it meets legal, health and safety requirements. The city’s position is that the rezoning would more closely match the zoning of structures near the property and the proposed R2B zoning are compatible with its adopted plans and policies related to increased density and location of student housing.
Timing (subject to change)
There will be opportunities for public comment. Public comment should initially directed to the rezoning issues since that is the first item directed to the City Council.
March 17 (first reading City Council)
April or May
The revised site plan should be submitted to planning commission based on the results of the January 24th meeting.
Rezoning goes to City Council for first reading Site Plan and Special Exception Use (for a sorority) go to Planning Commission
This would be the earliest meeting that the rezoning request would go to the City Council for second reading; and the Area Plan goes with it. This step might be delayed to allow the site plan to catch up.
Site Plan and Special Use go to City Council
Public input in important, please voice your concern!
Comments for Planning Commission can be mailed to 301 E. Huron Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, dropped off at City Hall or emailed to email@example.com.
Comments for City Council can be mailed to 301 E. Huron Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, dropped off at City at the Clerk’s office (2nd floor city hall) or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Citation: Image from George B. Brigham Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.
George B. Brigham map from Robert Metcalf, annotated and given to Nancy Deromedi in 2008.
a2modern opens the 2014 Modern Living Series with “At Home With David Osler”, a tour of the original William Mundus (I) home. Built in 1964, the home reflects the architect’s considerable abilities to design modern homes that reflect his minimalist views. a2modern is pleased to host this tour that offers homeowners and enthusiasts a rare opportunity to experience a David Osler residential work. It is planned that during the afternoon, both the original homeowner William Mundus and David Osler, architect will join us for questions and answers. Present homeowners Kenneth Wisinski and Linda Dintenfass will share results of their recent renovation by architect Stan Monroe, Wright Street Design Group, Inc. Stan Monroe will be in attendance to answer questions.
Tour Details *THE EVENT IS NOW AT CAPACITY! We will be having another tour to coincide with the Robert Metcalf exhibit that will be at the University of Michigan Museum of Art sometime between April 5th and July 13th, so please continue to check out www.a2modern.org.
DETAILS ON OSLER TOUR FOR REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS:
Questions: Contact email@example.com
Check out Grace Shackman’s recent article titled “A star architect’s vision Yamasaki’s Chelsea High School, Ann Arbor Observer, November 15, 2013.
A2MODERN MAP: a biking/walking tour of residential modern by Mid-Century masters
Thanks to a very generous donation by Carolyn Lepard, Reinhart Realtors, a2modern was able to reprint the A2Modern Map which highlights a selection of 86 residential projects in the Ann Arbor Hills/Arboretum/Geddes area. This is the second printing of the a2 map. Carolyn also sponsored the first printing of the map. If you don’t have a copy of the map yet, we will have plenty of copies on hand to give away at all of our Modern Living program tours in 2014. We are also hoping to have an online version in the future.
December 21, 2013–March 30, 2014
David Osler’s domestic, institutional, commercial, and civic buildings represent some of the most distinctive and recognizable modern architecture in Michigan, predominantly in Washtenaw County. Born in 1921, Osler is an Ann Arbor native and graduated from the University of Michigan College of Architecture and Design in 1943. Returning to Ann Arbor after World War II, he worked in the architecture office of Douglas D. Loree, Architect, and in 1958 opened his own practice. While his earlier work was mostly residential, each decade saw Osler’s firm receive larger commissions until he retired in 2008. However, throughout his career Osler continually received commissions to design modern houses that reflected his minimalist sensibilities.
This exhibition presents eight domestic projects that span his five-decade-long career from 1958–2008, highlighting a minimal design aesthetic that features crisp, clean, impeccably composed geometric lines and forms. Each project exemplifies Osler’s modern mid-century architectural vocabulary, as he designed houses that physically and visually embrace their natural settings.
Three Michigan Architects: Part 1–Osler is the first in a series of three consecutive exhibitions, with subsequent presentations of domestic work by Robert Metcalf (April 5–July 13) and George Brigham (July 9–October 13). The series will culminate in Fall 2014 with a symposium, as well as the publication of Three Michigan Architects: Osler, Metcalf, and Brigham—both of which will explore the importance of this circle of Ann Arbor-based architects, situating their regional body of domestic work into the larger context of modern architecture in the U.S. that developed on the East Coast and West Coast from the 1930s–1980s.
This exhibition is part of the U-M Collections Collaborations series, which showcases the renowned and diverse collections of the University of Michigan. This series inaugurates UMMA’s collaboration with the Bentley Historical Library, and is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Lead support for Three Michigan Architects is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Vice President for Research.
Image citation: David Osler, architect, William Mundus residence (1978), Bentley Historical Library.
Note from a2modern
a2modern is very excited about the upcoming three exhibits that will be held at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art starting this December 21, 2013. During each of the three exhibits, a2modern will be hosting an interior view and tour of one of the architect’s residential projects in Ann Arbor. These events will be part of our ongoing Modern Living Series. Stay tuned for more details of the Osler tour which will be in January!
Eastern Michigan Historic Preservation Class
This fall, a2modern partnered with Professor Ted Ligibel’s Historic Preservation class for the third time to suggest properties for further study. The assignment for the students is to research the property back to the original deed. For a2modern, this supports our mission to promote the awareness of modern architecture and design as we learn more about the built enviroment. This year, the properities selected are concentrate in the north side of Ann Arbor. All are welcome to attend the final presentations for the class. The presentations will be held in the Whiting room, Bentley Historical Library (1150 Beal Avenue, Ann Arbor) on:
December 12th 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
December 19th 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Detroit’s BIG CRUSH!
The Detroit Area Art Deco Society will be hosting it’s third annual Wine Stroll with the theme of Art, Architecture and Great Wines at variety of Detroit restaurants and historic venues.
Saturday, October 26th
1:00 p.m. -5 :00 p.m.
The wine stroll will provide attendees several architecturally significant buildings, art and select wines paired with a food tasting from each unique venue. Venues include
Advanced tickets are $35.00 and available for purchase here.
When: Thursday November 7th
Where: Domino’s Farms
Panelists: Margo Stipe, Robert Fishman, Dale Allen Gyure, Tom Monaghan
See press release for further details!
Explore first-hand the architectural grandeur of the historic Palmer Park apartment district on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5. Witness the progression of this unique enclave’s dramatic revitalization on this annual guided walking tour.
Tours leave Detroit Unity Temple in Palmer Park (17505 2nd Avenue Detroit, MI 48203) every 15 minutes from 11AM to 3PM. Parking will be available near check-in. Proceeds will benefit the restoration of Palmer Park, a 296 acre city park located in northwest Detroit between McNichols and Seven Mile Road, and just west of Woodward Avenue.
People for Palmer Park’s guided walking tour will lead you through an area that showcases some of Detroit’s best architects at different stages of their careers and their interpretations of differing popular styles. You will find the only authenticated work of some architects in this district. Built between 1924 and 1964, the apartment buildings reflect exotic architecture in the Egyptian, Spanish, Venetian, Moorish, Tudor, Mediterranean, Art Moderne, and Georgian styles.Few neighborhoods boast this kind of magnificent diversity. This annual tour shares the undergoing dramatic revitalization of this area with newly renovated buildings being added to the tour each year.
This year’s tour-goers will experience structures built in the 20s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Seven building interiors are included on the tour, including the newly renovated Palmer Lodge lobby. Our docents are encouraged to dress in period clothing reflecting the building’s era.
The park’s 1880′s Log Cabin, the only surviving log cabin in city, will be open for the tour. Before or after your tour visit the 1880s Log Cabin in Palmer Park, and enjoy Segway tours of the historic trails on a first-come, first-served basis from noon to 3PM (for tour-goers only) experience a Segway tour of the historic trails, enjoy some live music and a sampling of classic cars, and partake of some delicious local food by Food Lab vendors.
At the Cabin:
Noon – 5 PM: Tour the Log Cabin
Delicious local food from Food Lab by the Cabin
1 – 3 PM: Live music from Behind the Times
Noon – 3 PM by Cabin: Ride on Segways
Noon – 4 PM: Classic Cars on Display
BUY ADVANCED TOUR TICKETS to secure your departure time – $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tour booklet is included in the ticket price, as well as a ticket to ride the Segway in Palmer Park.