Monday, March 12, 2012

Fun at the Pietro Belluschi fundraiser

I slipped into my black and white early 1960's look for the Saturday night fundraiser for the Pietro Belluschi exhibit "The Architecture and Legacy of Pietro Belluschi" opening May 17th 2012 at the Oregon Historical Society. The fundraiser was held at the Bellushci designed Burke house in the west hills. The continuous cork floors, use of wood and floor to ceiling windows with vast views of downtown Portland made for a perfect Mad Man themed party! That's my friend Christy Eugenis on the left. We are so fortunate to have had Pietro Belluschi practice architecture in Oregon.

Info about the exhibit from the Oregon Historical Society:
Although born in Italy, Pietro Belluschi (1899-1994), became known as the most important architect to have lived and worked in Oregon. He was recognized for being a prominent contributor to a style known as Pacific Northwest Regionalism as well as for mastering modern design innovations. While his buildings and influence can be found throughout the United States, many of his significant works are here in Oregon – including churches, homes and office buildings. Belluschi’s success was not only as an architect, he was also known and respected as a philosopher, educator, collaborator, advisor, and mentor.

There were three major phases in Belluschi’s career, two of which were in Oregon. First as a Northwest regionalist, his work reflected the influences of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Arts and Crafts movement and also Modernism. The next phase began in 1951 when he became Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). During this time, in addition to educating and lecturing as Dean, he collaborated on buildings with numerous firms around the country, most all of which were better off with his input and advice.

This exhibit shares, for the first time, an overview of Pietro Belluschi’s architectural contributions during his long and richly productive career. The exhibit also uses the Belluschi Family archives to share personal mementos from his remarkable life.

Click here to purchase tickets

Below is an article about the Burke house from Portland Architecture blog.
"It was conceived in 1944 for a Dr. and Mrs. DC Burkes, but built in 1947 after wartime restrictions on building materials were lifted. Like a lot of homes associated with the mid-20th century ‘Northwest Style’ (those by Belluschi, John Yeon, Van Evra Bailey and developer Robert Rummer), the orientation is not toward the home’s entrance, where we pulled into an old-school carport. Once you step inside, though, there is great attention paid to the spectacular view of downtown Portland as well as to the courtyard-like enclosed back yard.

The view itself would be enough to sell most anyone on this house, but soon even the panorama of buildings, hills, roads and changing clouds you can see from nearly floor to ceiling glass gives away to the house itself. There is such a feeling of connection between inside and outside at Belluschi’s Burke House. The wood ceiling, for example, extends continuously past the glass walls outside as an overhang, yet the material doesn’t change. So whether you’re looking towards the downtown view or the other way towards the back yard, it seems like there is merely a glass partition between two of the house’s spaces that just happen to be indoor and outdoor.

Born in Italy, Belluschi was, despite being a Modernist architect, trained in Old World building and craftsmanship. So while the house’s design has a tremendous lightness to it, in the way one appreciates about modern architecture, there is also a clear sense of this house coming from an architect with an acute sense of structure and materials.

As Jeff Belluschi (who is quite the amateur scholar regarding his grandfather’s career) reminded me, wood provided Pietro with a kind of epiphany. His Italian forebears built with heavy stone and masonry. Wood allowed Belluschi to favor a lightness that old buildings could never pull off, but he also knew enough to let the exquisitely warm and natural texture to come through."

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