Walker's Homes in Ojai
Saturday, May 22, 2004
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The SAH/SCC has organized an architectural tour celebrating the architectural legacy of Rodney Walker, featuring five of his later designs, all in the Ojai Valley. Much has already been written about Walkers Case Study houses and his pioneering architecture in the Los Angeles area; this event will showcase his later residential work, designed during the years he lived in Ojai.
Walkers Homes in Ojai will be an exciting one-day tour to be held on Saturday, May 22nd. This exclusive house tour is $55 for members; $70 for non-members, and will include lunch.
Our intent is to open a dialogue about Walkers structural expressiveness, spatial ideas, use of materials, and constant search for economy. As with all of our tours, we will provide our members the unique opportunity to experience the spaces firsthand, something we believe is essential to cultivating a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the work.
In her book “Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses” (MIT Press, 1989), Elizabeth A.T. Smith writes of Rodney Walker:
Throughout his architectural career, Rodney Walker remained true to the goals of experimenting with new cost-saving materials in aesthetically innovative, modern structures. He was an architect who entered fully into the building process, not only designing and supervising, but actually participating in the construction of most of his buildings with his workmen.
Walker insisted on calling himself a designer rather than an architect (even after the AlA offered to confer this latter title on him without the fulfillment of the usual requirements) because he refused to give up the building process that he felt was crucial to the perfection of the final architectural product.
Walker’s eldest son Bruce put it this way, I think he was one of the few Case Study designers who really tried to take the programs objectives seriously. His places were usually artistic in a practical way rather than exotic for its own sake. He latched on to excellent products like Weldwood, Weldtex, and Novoply from U.S. Plywood and used them to excellent advantage. He did a lot of his own structural engineering and kept a Marks Handbook on his desk. He would then take the plans to a PE (engineer) to have them signed off.
Additionally, Bruce’s brother (and SAH/SCC Board Member) Craig remembers, My father liked to explore novel structural details and material usage, which often triggered heated debates at the Building Department!
On the day of the event, tour goers will be asked to drive to a staging area in Ojai where we will start the day at 10AM with a brief slide presentation that will set the stage for and provide context about the work. Afterward, shuttle buses will take participants to the various houses and return to the event staging area by 5PM.
Come join us for a comprehensive regional study of the work of architect Rodney Walker and spend the afternoon experiencing springtime in the delightful Ojai valley.
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