Sleep in a Modernist Gem – Huis Billiet in Bruges
Exclusive Tour and Film Screening Package
Announcing IH City Icons: Amsterdam
Winy Wants a World Wonder
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - 100 Years Van Zessen House
The Last House Designed by Adolf Loos Will Be Built in Prague
Icons of the Czech Avantgarde
Icon for Sale - Casa Legorreta
Rietveld Day: 200 Enthusiasts Explored 3 Utrecht Icons
Hurray! 10 Years Iconic Houses
7th International Iconic Houses Conference A Huge Success
Screenings 7 and 22 Oct. - Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House
Meet Conference Co-Chair Iveta Černá
Meet Conference Co-Chair Maria Szadkowska
Eighteen Iconic Houses Under One Roof
17 June - 'Pioneers-film' Screening Amersfoort
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Van Eesteren House Museum
Welcome Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky Zentrum in Vienna!
Welcome Vila Volman! Jewel of Czech Functionalism
Movie Night: Adolf Loos- Revolutionary Among Architects
'Inside Iconic Houses' Case Study House #26 Webcast in Webshop
Inside Iconic Houses at Taut’s Home in Berlin
Rediscovering Forgotten Loos Interiors in Pilsen
'Inside Iconic Houses' - Online Tour Program
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - The Diagoon House
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Rietveld Schröder House
Rietveld Houses Owners Association
Corberó Space: New Life for Hidden Jewel
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Pierre Cuypers' House and Workshops
Reeuwijk Celebrates Completion of Restoration Rietveld Homes!
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Van Doesburg Rinsema House
Welcome Rietveld's Van Daalen House!
Architect Harry Gessner Passed Away at 97
Watch Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House Now On Demand
Icon Saved: Dorchester Drive House
Welcome Umbrella House!
Iconic Houses in the Netherlands – Berlage’s Masterpiece
Welcome Atelier Volten!
SPECIAL – Iconic Dreams - Sleep in an Iconic House!
SPECIAL - Vacances en France!
SPECIAL - Casas Icónicas en España!
SPECIAL – German Greats!
SPECIAL – Dutch Delights!
SPECIAL – Northern (High)Lights!
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Het Schip
Inside Iconic Houses - Tour of Maison Cazenave
Inside Iconic Houses Tours Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami
Casa Masó Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary
Inside Iconic Houses tours Roland Reisley's Usonian Frank Lloyd Wright House
Rietveld’s Experimental Housing in Reeuwijk Saved
Serralves Villa after restoration
Portraits of the Architect - Interview with Gennaro Postiglione
Test Labs for New Ideas - Interview with Natascha Drabbe
Inside Iconic Houses - Isokon Building
Inside Iconic Houses - 16 December: Sunnylands with Janice Lyle
BCN-BXL Coderch-De Koninck - Beyond Time
New Chairman Architect Nanne de Ru on The Perfect Platform
Health and Home - Interview with Beatriz Colomina
A Life Less Ordinary – Interview with Valentijn Carbo
Invisible Women - Interview with Alice T. Friedman
Winy Maas on the Green Dip
Anita Blom on Experimental Housing of the 1970s
Women’s Worlds - Interview with Natalie Dubois
The Culture of Living - Interview with Robert von der Nahmer
Hetty Berens: A Fresh Take on Modernism
Niek Smit on Supporting Modern Heritage
Alice Roegholt on Amsterdam’s Working-Class Palaces
July is Iconic Houses Month
Hans van Heeswijk on The Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House
Wessel de Jonge on Dutch Icons at Risk
Save Maison Zilveli - Sign the Petition!
How a Building Tells a Story - Recorded Event
Toolkit for Owners of a Modern House
13 Aalto Sites Nominated for UNESCO World Heritage
Villa Beer At Risk - Sign the Petition!
Business Cards of Stone, Timber and Concrete in the Brussels Region 1830-1970
Exhibiting & Visiting Modernist Monuments
Fostering Well-Researched Responsible Design
ICONS AT RISK
Enjoy a virtual visit to the California House and a Q&A with architect Peter Gluck
Exhibition 'Modernism and Refuge'
A Hidden Gem of Postmodernism
New Centre for Historic Houses of India
An Online Chronicle of the Douglas House
Villa Henny, geometric style icon in The Netherlands
A Mendini temple in Amsterdam
IH-lectures USA & Canada Feb 2020 on Melnikov House
Sponsors and Friends
An Afternoon with the Glucks
Chandler McCoy on Making Modern Houses Sustainable
Catherine Croft: Getting Away from the Demolition Mentality in the UK
Patrick Weber on Discovering an Unknown Icon
Fiona Fisher on Iconic Interiors
Jocelyn Bouraly on Villa Cavrois
Mireia Massagué on finding success through a new kind of partnership
Danish Moderns – Looking Back at Our Mini-Seminar
Venturo house complements Exhibition Centre WeeGee’s offering
Lecture report: Remembering Richard Neutra
Hôtel Mezzara and the Guimard Museum project
We welcome 13 new members!
BREAKING NEWS: 8 Wright Sites Inscribed on Unesco World Heritage List!
LECTURE 29 August - Raymond Neutra: My Father and Frank Lloyd Wright
SPECIAL – Iconic Artist Residencies
Our Badge of Honour
SPECIAL – Women & Iconic Houses
SPECIAL – Iconic Housing
Iconic Houses End Year Message
City-ordered rebuild of landmark house stirs debate: Appropriate or overreach?
Kohlberg House Restoration in Progress
Planned Demolition of Rietveld Homes in Reeuwijk
Renovation Gili House in Crisis
An Iconic Saga
Restoring Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 and Clarifying the Controversies
Modernism on the East Coast
Iconic Houses in Latin America
House Tours May 2018
Natascha Drabbe - Iconic Houses: The Next Chapter
Terence Riley -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Philip Johnson
New era for Villa E-1027 and Cap Moderne
Hilary Lewis on Philip Johnson and his Glass House
John Arbuckle on Great House Tours
William D. Earls on the Harvard Five in New Canaan
Stover Jenkins on Working for Philip Johnson
Frederick Noyes on his Father’s House
Scott Fellows and Craig Bassam on their Passion for Preservation
Jorge Liernur -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Latin American Modernism(s)
Fabio Grementieri on Modernism in Argentina
Catalina Corcuera Cabezut on Casa Luis Barragán
Renato Anelli on Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro
Tim McClimon on Corporate Preservation
Amanda Nelson on Building Donor Relationships
John Bacon on Planned Giving
Jean-Paul Warmoes on the Art of Fundraising in America
Chandler McCoy on Why Less is More
Katherine Malone-France on Moving with the Times
Anne Mette Rahbæk on Philanthropic Investments and Preservation
Peter McMahon on Saving Modern Houses on Cape Cod
Toshiko Kinoshita on Japanese Modern Heritage Houses
Roland Reisley on Life in a Frank Lloyd Wright House
5th Iconic Houses Conference May 2018
Kristin Stone, Pasadena Tour Company
Restoring the past: The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio
Behind the Scenes: Hendrick de Keyser Association
Crosby Doe, Architecture for Sale
Latin America Special – Focus on Mexico
De Stijl in Drachten
Preserving the Nancarrow House-Studio
Meet the Friends - Nanne de Ru
Latin America Special – Focus on Brazil
Jan de Jong’s House is Latest Hendrick de Keyser Acquisition
Stay in a Belgian Modernist Masterpiece
In Berlin’s Modernist Network
Rietveld-Schröder House Celebrates De Stijl Anniversary
Meet Our New Foundation Board Members
Maintaining Aalto's Studio – Linoleum Conservation
Virtual Tour of a Papaverhof Home in 3D
Getty Grant for Villa E-1027
Plečnik House in Ljubljana
Iconic Houses: A Bohemian Road Trip
Work in Progress: Capricho de Gaudí
11 Le Corbusier Homes now on Unesco World Heritage List
At home with Le Corbusier
Henry van de Velde’s Study in Haus Hohe Pappeln Restored
Lynda Waggoner reports
A Conference to Remember
4th International Iconic Houses Conference
Guest of Honor - Harry Gesner
Fallingwater: European Lecture Tour
Wright Plus 2016 Walk
Susan Macdonald, Getty Conservation Institute
John Mcllwee, Garcia House
Meet the Friends – Elisabeth Tostrup
Iconic Houses: The Story So Far
Willie van Burgsteden, designer Iconic Houses
Buff Kavelman, Philanthropic Advisor
Meet the Friends - Frederick Noyes
Sheridan Burke, GML Heritage
Meet the Friends - Raymond Neutra
Sidney Williams, Frey House
Franklin Vagnone and Deborah Ryan, Museum Anarchists
Meet the Friends - James Haefner
Toshiko Mori, architect
Malachi Connolly, Cape Cod Modern House Trust
Meet the Friends - Penny Sparke
Lucia Dewey Atwood, Eames House
Cory Buckner, Mutual Housing Site Office
Jeffrey Herr, Hollyhock House
Speaking Volumes: Building the Iconic Houses Library
Sarah Lorenzen, Neutra VDL Studio and Residences
Ted Bosley, Gamble House
Keeping It Modern - Getty Conservation Grants
Meet the Friends - Thomas Schönauer
Wim de Wit, Stanford University
Linda Dishman, Los Angeles Conservancy
Jesse Lattig, Pasadena Heritage
Join us in Los Angeles! Update
Work in Progress: Casa Vicens
Work in Progress: Van Wassenhove House
Work in Progress: Villa Cavrois
Work in Progress: The Pearlroth House
Third Iconic Houses Conference a huge success
Conference House Tours Barcelona
Marta Lacambra, Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera
Natascha Drabbe, Iconic Houses Foundation
Special speaker Oscar Tusquets
Jordi Tresserras, UNESCO Network ‘Culture, tourism and development’
Christen Obel, Utzon Foundation
Elena Ruiz Sastre, Casa Broner
Fernando Alvarez Prozorovich, La Ricarda
Tim Benton, Professor of Art History (Emeritus)
Susana Landrove, Docomomo Spain
Rossend Casanova, Casa Bloc
Conference Program 25 November 2014
Jordi Falgàs, Casa Rafael Masó
Documentary La Ricarda
Marga Viza, Casa Míla/La Pedrera
Celeste Adams, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust
Conference 25 November 2014 at La Pedrera
Henry Urbach, The Glass House
Victoria & Albert Museum London November 12
Tommi Lindh, new director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation and Museum
Iveta Černá, Villa Tugendhat
Lynda Waggoner, Fallingwater
Kimberli Meyer, MAK Center
Rent a house designed by Gerrit Rietveld
Barragán House on Screen
Gesamtkunstwerk – An Icon on the Move
Triennale der Moderne 27 September - 13 October 2013
Prestigious Art Nouveau mansions in Brussels open
September 14 + 15: Heritage Days in Paris
June's New Arrivals: Museum Apartments
Iconic Houses is now on Twitter and Facebook
Corbu’s Cabanon: Reconstruction and Lecture
Projekt Mies In Krefeld: Life-sized model of the Krefeld Clubhouse
New arrivals: Spain special
MAMO: Le Corbu’s ‘Park in the Sky’ open 12 June
Taut's Home wins Europa Nostra Award
Annual Wright Architectural Housewalk: 18 May
Frank Lloyd Wright Homes on Screen
Message from the Editor
Neutra’s House on Screen
Michel Richard, Fondation Le Corbusier
Symposium The Public and the Modern House
Melnikov House on Screen
Iconic Houses in the media
Message from the Editor
Round Table Review
Eileen Gray House on Screen
At Home in the 20th Century
New 20th century Iconic Houses website launches
Philippe Bélaval, Centre des monuments nationaux
Restoring the past: The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio
Alan Rojas Orzechowski, deputy director Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, Mexico City
The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio Museum is located in southern Mexico City, in the San Angel district, a historical section renowned for its colonial architecture and cobblestoned streets. The area has a long-standing bourgeois tradition for summer villas in Beaux Arts, neocolonial and picturesque styles, so it may come as a shock for some to discover a hidden gem: the first functionalist house to ever been built in Mexico, by architect Juan O´Gorman (1905-1982).
By the beginning of the twentieth century, in 1906, the lands comprising the hacienda Goicoechea -currently a popular restaurant- were sold and fractioned by the San Angel Land Co., which began the creation of the Altavista residential neighborhood. The homestead was then turned into a hotel, the San Angel Inn. Due to its popularity in the 1920´s, the area was best known as San Angel Inn.
In 1929, young architect Juan O´Gorman purchased two lots that functioned as the hotel´s tennis courts, where he explored the possibility of a new architecture by building a model house in the lower plot. Although he sustained it was created for his father, painter Cecil Crawford O´Gorman, it’s more likely he constructed the site as a showcase for his new architectural proposals.
Self portrait (Autorretrato múltiple), oil on canvas, Museo de Arte Moderno, INBA, Juan O‘Gorman, 1950.
He was well acquainted with the architectural innovations of European avant-garde architects, particularly, functionalist architect Le Corbusier. O´Gorman followed this paradigm with the usage of pilotis, steel and glass, being the study on the upstairs floor a remarkable example; a concrete helicoidal staircase which required a mastered use of geometry and technique, as well as piping and electrical exposed installations as part of an expressive architectural language. The innovation was present by retrieving Mexican folk-art elements as the exposed clay paneled ceilings, saturated colours in exterior walls and a cacti fence, enhancing the nationalist cosmopolitanism which ruled the post-revolutionary epoch.
The 1929 Cecil Crawford O´Gorman, fundamental part of the museum.
The construction was completed in 1931, when he showed the finalized dwelling to lifelong friends Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Rivera a communist as well, respected Juan O´Gorman’s views on working-class housing and the concept of socialized architecture, consequently the edifice aesthetics fascinated him. We are currently aware the he intended to use this construction as a prototype for low-income families, although the project never occurred.
Preliminary Project for Working Class Housing in Mexico City (Anteproyecto de habitaciones obreras en el D.F.), Juan O´Gorman, 1929.
Consequently, the muralist Rivera commissioned O´Gorman to build his residence in the upper plot, at the intersection of Altavista Avenue and Palmas Street. He requested the building must contain both, living quarters and a large working space.
The result was a compound of three buildings; a main working space, a residential construction known as Frida Kahlo´s house, and a photographic laboratory for Kahlo´s father, Guillermo Kahlo completed in 1932 when the couple were still living in the States. It boasted two entrances, one on Altavista Avenue facing the living quarters, and the other on Palmas Street which leads directly to Rivera´s atelier.
Frida Kahlo´s house (Casa para Frida Kahlo), Juan O´Gorman, 1931.
Diego Rivera´s home and studio (Casa y estudio del pintor Diego Rivera), Juan O´Gorman, 1931.
Following Le Corbusier´s functionalist postulates, the ground floor is freed from walls functioning as a foyer and the upper floors are suspended over pilotis. A cacti fence encloses the plot allowing complete visualization to the Cecil O´Gorman house emphasizing its architectural harmony. Once again, Juan O´Gorman drew inspiration from another Le Corbusier creation, the 1922 home studio of French painter Amédée Ozenfant. Featuring industrial elements as the saw roof, a double external concrete spiral staircase, and exposed electrical and piping, O´Gorman´s creation is far more complex than the Ozenfant atelier.
The living quarters occupy a rather modest structure where the open plan ground floor is interrupted by the service lodgings and a semi-circular staircase visible from the street, which serves as the main access. Novelties were introduced in the form of an outer cantilever staircase leading to the roof terrace with a tubular rail, and the bright red exposed drainage and piping. Both structures, atelier and house, were joint by a concrete bridge.
Diego Rivera resided here from 1934 until his death in 1957. Frida Kahlo´s residency periods varied and were intermittent, preferring to stay at her paternal house in Coyoacan. After Rivera’s passing, his daughters inherited the structures and severely modified the compound.
Rivera´s eldest daughter received the living quarters and subdivided the plot, demolishing the concrete bridge. All the while, his younger offspring Ruth, a respected architect herself, remained at the atelier´s structure. During this period, it was drastically altered to transform the space into a residential dwelling. The open plan ground floor was encased with steel and glazed windows resembling the original design, an entire wing was added to contain a kitchen, main bedroom, and bathroom. Also, a volcanic stone wall replaced the cacti fence.
Views of the museum, prior to the 1997 restoration. Unidentified photographer.
After Ruth deceased, painter and husband Rafael Coronel purchased the adjacent plot from her sister in law and combined them both, recreating the original proportions. He sold the modified compound to the National Institute of Fine Arts in 1981 with the intention of creating a museum dedicated to Diego Rivera, a plan long thought by the artist´s daughter, Ruth Rivera.
After some years of cataloguing documents, private correspondence and photographs, the place opened as the Diego Rivera Museum on December 1986. Although, only the atelier structure was open to visitors, since the living quarters remained first, as a private residence and then as documentation and research facility.
Exterior and interior of the first museum site, ca. 1990. Unidentified photographer.
In 1995, the National Institute of Fine Arts decided to temporarily close the museum for a long-term restoration to return the structures to the original 1930´s floor plans. This required the aid of several architects, scholars, and restorers. Architect Victor Jimenez, who still is a major expert on Juan O´Gorman, lead the team of the two-year restoration plan. They began by demolishing every addition done after the original scheme, freeing the ground floors from the encased glasses and retrieving the original pilotis, while strengthen them with steel rods and concrete. They also demolished a second floor added to Guillermo Kahlo´s photographic studio when it housed the research center. After two years of intense work, research, authentic reconstruction, and restoration when possible, the museum reopened its doors in 1997 and a year later was designated a National Landmark.
Different views of the 1995-1997 restoration process. Unidentified photographer.
In 2011, The National Institute of Fine Arts was presented with the opportunity of acquiring the original 1929 Cecil Crawford house. Once again, a long-term restoration scheme was programmed to recover what was left of the original structure. This house too was relentlessly reformed from its original floorplans by adding an entire wing and the demolition of the helicoidal external staircase. One of the restoration´s accomplishments was to uncover the sinopia -or outlines- of an existing ground floor mural made by Juan O´Gorman in 1948, which he withdrew of the property in the late 1960´s.
As sequence of the permanent preservation program, in 2015 and 2016 the compound underwent extensive maintenance and repainting, fulfilling our duty as keepers of one of the most important milestones of Mexican architecture.
View from Altavista Avenue, ca. 2000. Unidentified photographer.
Publication date 17 January 2018