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A box-shaped design that was built on a La Jolla cliffside, it over a glassed-in front porch that overlooks a hillside and a minimal, edgy facade.
He created homes that were cream-white, stucco structures, with no roofline, set against the clear, blue sky.
“San Diego and Southern California influenced Gill the way that the prairie influenced Frank Lloyd Wright,” says Guthrie.
His first stop was in Chicago, where he worked from 1890 to 1893, including a multi-year stint with Adler & Sullivan during a peak time for this iconic architecture duo.
He was surrounded by, and influenced by innovation that would shape modern architecture. Sullivan has been quoted numerous times for his statement about reducing ornamentation in design, a thoroughly modern concept that informed much of his work during Gill’s time in Chicago.
Ahead of his time Irving Gill’s work in the 1910’s was ahead of its time.
In 1916, he wrote an essay, Home of the Future, that outlined his design philosophies years before many of the pioneering modernists began designing homes and buildings.
In his 1892 essay, Ornament in Architecture, he wrote: “I take it as self-evident that a building, quite devoid of ornament, may convey a noble and dignified sentiment by virtue of mass and proportion…I should say that it would be greatly for our aesthetic good if we should refrain entirely from the use of ornament for a period of years, in order that our thought might concentrate acutely upon the production of buildings well formed and comely in the nude…” “Gill took that idea and ran with it,” says Guthrie.
While Sullivan never completely avoided ornamentation in his work, Gill, “stripped architecture of external ornamentation, and used nature as his ornamentation.
Architect James Guthrie, who spearheaded the upcoming symposium, organized by the Irving J.
Gill Foundation, discussed Gill’s history, why he’s under-recognized, and makes a case for him as a pioneering modern architect.