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Inside Iconic Houses - 28 April: Tour of Maison Cazenave

Inside Iconic Houses - Online Tour Program

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21 January 2022

Inside Iconic Houses - 16 December: Sunnylands with Janice Lyle

We closed the first year of our Inside Iconic Houses tour series, with a live tour of Sunnylands, led by its director Janice Lyle. Its architect, Los Angeles-based A. Quincy Jones, was known for innovative modernist buildings. He designed the winter home of Walter and Leonore Annenberg in Palm Springs in 1966. The 25,000-square-foot residence is a classic example of California Midcentury Modern architecture. Interior furnishings were designed in the Hollywood Regency style by William Haines.

Watch the introduction to the Sunnylands House Tour here.

 

Janice Lyle is currently Director of Sunnylands Center & Gardens in Rancho Mirage, California. Prior to joining The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, she was the Executive Director of the Palm Springs Art Museum for 13 years and Director of Public Programs for 10 years. She has a PhD in art history from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Tell us about your own relationship with significant houses
I am currently responsible for the preservation and interpretation of Sunnylands, the winter home built for Walter and Leonore Annenberg by California architect A. Quincy Jones. This mid-century modern estate is now used for high-level retreats that address serious issues facing the United States and the world community. The Annenbergs envisioned Sunnylands as a place where intimate and solution-driven meetings could take place and where the public could learn about its history through tours and programs. In addition, I lived in Frey House II, architect Albert Frey’s second home in Palm Springs, while Executive Director of the Palm Springs Art Museum. I have been involved in mid-century modern preservation efforts in Palm Springs since the 1980s.

Do you have a favourite house?
I must recognize the simplicity and beauty of the house Albert Frey bequeathed to the Palm Springs Art Museum in 1996. As executive director, I had the opportunity to live in the house for more than two years — it was a life-changing experience. This small glass box on the mountain with a boulder adjacent to the bed is completely integrated into the hillside. The restraint required to live in the space is rewarded by the peaceful connection to nature and the visual discoveries that occur in the refined space.

Frey House II, Palm Springs 1963-‘64, photo Dan Chavkin 

What is the biggest challenge facing Sunnylands right now?
We are constantly striving to balance three important and often conflicting approaches to the management of Sunnylands — the preservation of both the built and planted historic resource, the requirements of adaptive reuse as a retreat center, and the sustainability issues that affect a water-intensive property in the California desert. The 200-acre historic estate was originally 180 acres of turf and the experience of the A. Quincy Jones house is tied to the views of its park-like setting. Our challenge is to remain true to that 20th-century vision of an oasis in the desert while managing the landscape responsibly in the 21st century.

How has the Iconic Houses network been helpful to you?
I have made many personal connections with creative colleagues who have been addressing issues related to significant houses throughout the globe. These amazingly generous people have shared with me their insights and solutions to problems that are similar to my challenges. Our conversations at international conferences and currently by zoom are stimulating and central to developing new approaches to the preservation of iconic 20th-century homes.

How can we learn more about Sunnylands?
Watch a film about the construction, design and interior of Sunnylands here.

 

Purchase a signed copy of the coffee-table book, Sunnylands: America’s Midcentury Masterpiece, published by Vendome Press in 2016 and available at sunnylandsshop.square.site.

Design, Transform, Conserve: the Remaking of Sunnylands
For those who want to know more about the restoration project there is this recording of the Getty Conservation Institute’s symposium ‘Design, Transform, Conserve: the Remaking of Sunnylands’, where experts discuss the challenges of adapting for reuse, with regard to Sunnylands, the 200-acre estate of Walter and Leonore Annenberg designed by A. Quincy Jones in 1964.

 

Publication date 14 December 2021 / update 21 January 2022