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Glenbrook Valley Is the Mid-Century Modern Jewel of Houston

When you think of cities with iconic mid-century modern architecture, Houston is not on that list. Maybe out of ignorance, neglect or a lack of publicity, the Houston neighborhood of Glenbrook Valley has managed to fly well below the radar since its heyday. The community was designed by the architectural firm of Hare & Hare and was developed by Fred McManus. The community is known as a jewel in the rough, surrounded by the urban blight of the nation’s fourth largest city. It has been so well preserved that visitors might expect to see Don Draper of Mad Men fame working on a front lawn.

The development of 1200 homes created quite the buzz during development. The first section of homes was opened in 1954, and six of those original homes were featured in the 1954 Parade of Homes. One of those six homes was cited by Better Homes and Gardens as “The Model Home for All of America.” The Houston press later wrote that Glenbrook Valley was a showpiece and a modern vision of the Jetsons that has come of age.

Because of the westward growth of Houston, the neighborhood started to decline due to general lack of interest. In the 1980’s, an oil bust threw Houston into economic decline and the neighborhood suffered. The older residents began leaving the community for economic reasons and the homes began to suffer from neglect. Luckily for Glenbrook Village, strong deed restrictions were in place from the original development, which prevented the razing of the original homes and building of ‘McMansions.’ This kept intact the ‘Mad Men’ feel of this iconic mid-century modern neighborhood.

In the early 2000’s, Glenbrook Valley got a breath of new life. A renewed interest in the homes was spurred by rising real estate prices in the more affluent areas and the keen interests of the young hip Houstonians who were seeking affordable and chic housing. In 2010, the Houston press nominated Glenbrook Valley as one of Houston’s most underrated neighborhoods. 

“The neighborhood’s webpage embraces the`60s feeling, and residents there have been resolute in preserving the history of the place.”

Richard Connelly

In June 2011, Glenbrook Valley was designated as an Historic District by the City of Houston and was the first designated historic neighborhood in the State of Texas for post-World War II structures.   

From the ADG Jobsite

Historic Boyd architect project in collaboration with Paul Williger!

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

Dallas Architecture Uber BOKA Powell

Dallas Architecture Firm Presents Designs For Uber Skyports

For those who enjoyed The Jetsons cartoons, you will surely remember George Jetson and family embarking from their space age tower-like home and jetting off to their destination in a bubble-like space craft. Traffic was seen zipping about in synchronized flows all around the various towers in the city where the Jetsons lived. They would zip by residences, shopping centers, bowling alleys and theaters. There were no traffic jams or frustrated drivers as they zipped along to their next adventure. Now, Uber and BOKA Powell Architecture seem to be on the verge of making the Jetsons a reality for our future.         

The BOKA Powell architecture firm unveiled plans for an Uber skyport in Dallas. Uber has introduced plans to roll out their flying taxis in three test markets, with services starting in the year 2023. Dallas, Los Angeles and Dubai have been identified by Uber as their first three markets. The footprint of the skyport would be three acres, with a superstructure length of 930 feet, 200 feet wide and 200 feet tall. The design has been described as funky futuristic.

The concept would be for each city to have several skyports. When a passenger chooses the air taxi option, they would be picked up by a regular Uber, transported to the Skyport, where they would be flown to the closest skyport to their final destination, where a regular Uber would take them from the skyport to their final destination. The concept is to avoid commuter traffic and area with high congestion.   

Dallas Architecture Uber Skyport

The concept aircraft being developed by Uber and their partners, which includes NASA, is for a four-seat craft, plus a pilot that can cruise between 150-200 miles per hour, with a maximum altitude of 2,000 feet AGL. Their concept would have a range of 60 miles and have the ability to recharge between flights within five minutes. The would initially operate with a pilot onboard, but would eventually transition into an automated pilotless aircraft. 

BOKA Powell is a full-service architecture, planning and interior design firm, based in Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth.  With over 40 years of service to the community, they have received numerous honors and awards for their architectural and design projects. The firm has made its goal to give back and have become a recognized philanthropic presence in the regions where they live and work.       

From the ADG Jobsite

Oak and brass lantern with brass address plate

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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Texas Architecture – The Art Deco of Fair Park

Everything in Texas is bigger! Texans have a way of making things larger than life as a way of celebrating their character and heritage. In 1936, the governor of Texas wanted to celebrate the state’s centennial in a big way! He commissioned architect George Dahl to make it happen in a Texas-sized way. Dahl went to work and constructed for the state fair more than 50 art deco buildings for the annual celebration.

The State Fair of Texas is an annual event held in Dallas at the historic Fair Park. The fair has taken place every year since 1886 except for varying periods during World War I and World War II. It begins the last Friday in September and ends 24 days later. While the State Fair of Texas considers quantifying its official attendance figures too much of a hassle, it is still consistently recognized as one of the most highly attended and best state fairs in America as well as Dallas’s signature event.

George Dahl was a prominent architect based in Dallas during the 20th century. His most notable contributions include the Art Deco structures of the State Fair of Texas at Fair Park. He oversaw planning and construction of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition held during the state fair. He began his career working for the Herbert M. Greene Co. in Dallas. He became a partner in Greene’s firm in 1928. In 1943, Dahl founded his own firm, George Leighton Dahl, Architects and Engineers, Incorporated, with a nationwide practice. Dahl was also a pioneer in fast-track construction. Upon his retirement in 1973, he had produced some 3,000 projects throughout the country that are estimated to be worth $2 billion.

The art deco buildings designed by Dahl and the Centennial Exposition were a hit! More than 6 million people, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, attended the fair in 1936. The event is credited with helping pull Dallas out of the Great Depression.

From the Factory Floor

Prepping for the week 

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Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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texas, hurricane, louisiana, relief

Thoughts and Prayers for Texas & the Gulf Coast

With Texas being one of the largest states and Houston being the 4th largest city in the country, there is a high likelihood that you know someone either directly or through another person residing here or affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The stories and images coming out of South Texas are absolutely heart wrenching. There are MANY families and people whose lives are changed forever!

We as a nation, businesses and individuals can do so much to help from small to large.

Living in Austin and working all over Texas, I know a large number of people affected either by flooding or some form of loss caused by this horrific storm. Seeing and being around the devastation first hand really puts A LOT into perspective.

Each and every day we must appreciate the small things and be thankful for the sunshine.

We have volunteered our time and also donated to Red Cross and Austin Pets Alive.

We would like to share a few SAFE, WONDERFUL and LOCAL links to make helping easier for you.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

www.ghcf.org

Austin Pets Alive

www.austinpetsalive.org

United Way Houston

www.unitedwayhouston.org

Thank YOU ahead of time for your generosity and a BIG Thank YOU to those of you who have already given your time or money.

 

Warm Regards and Blessings!

Tina, ADG Austin & the rest of the ADG team

From the ADG Client Site

Successful install at Corinna Knight Designs!

 

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by Gerald Olesker, ADG Lighting

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Is There an Unknown Architect as Big as Texas?

 

Everything is bigger in Texas! You have heard it before and it is just a fact. Texas is home to nearly 26.5 million people, or 8.4% of the total U.S. population. Most of this population is concentrated around cities including Houston, Dallas, and Austin. The Lone Star State holds a major portion of the U.S. economy. Its total gross domestic product is $1.43 trillion, which is approximately 8.5% of the entire U.S. GDP. Although Texas is primarily known for its oil, it is also the leader in wind power development, and has a large aerospace and aviation industry. Fifty-two Fortune 500 companies including Exxon Mobil, AT&T, and American Airlines are headquartered in Texas.

With that kind of standing behind them, Texans are known to brag about just about everything. If they aren’t bigger and better, they will be soon. So, it becomes quite puzzling to most folks when a Texan’s work is significantly impactful, yet folks just don’t know his name. The Texan that remained so anonymous for so long is renowned architect O’Neil Ford, better known as the Texas godfather of modern architecture.

O’Neil Ford was a renowned architect of the mid-20th century in Texas and a leading architect of the American Southwest. He is considered one of the nation’s best unknown architects, and his designs merged the modernism of Europe with the indigenous qualities of early Texas architecture. In 1974 he was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Council on the Arts, the only individual to ever be given that title.

His designs include several buildings in Denton, among them the Little Chapel in the Woods, renovations at the Emily Fowler Public Library, the Denton Civic Center, Denton’s City Hall and several buildings at The Selwyn School. Because his designs form much of Denton’s identity, a Texas historical marker honoring Ford was dedicated at the Emily Fowler Library in 2009.

Other Dallas works by Ford include much of the University of Dallas campus in Irving. He designed the Braniff Memorial Tower, the Braniff Graduate Center, the Gorman Lecture Center, parts of the art village, the Haggar University Center, and the Haggerty Science Building.

Many of Ford’s works can also be found in San Antonio. These works include the renovation of La Villita, the campus of Trinity University, the campus of Saint Mary’s Hall, the University of Texas at San Antonio Main Campus, and the Tower of the Americas.

Other significant works by O’Neil Ford include buildings at Skidmore College and several facilities around the world designed for Texas Instruments. Shortly before his death, he completed the design of the building of the Museum of Western Art in Kerrville.

From the Factory Floor

Solid walnut plank to be illuminated on job site!
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by Gerald Olesker, ADG Lighting
schindler house, architecture, adglighting.com

LA Architecture: The Glory of Schindler in Laurel Canyon

Perched high above Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles, is one of the finest examples of expressionistic architecture by R.M. Schindler. One of the largest homes designed by Schindler hugs the contours of the canyon, with the angles nestled into the rocky landscape.

The Bohemian Acolyte

Rudolf Michael Schindler was born on September 10, 1887, to a middle-class family in Vienna, Austria. His father was a wood and metal craftsman and an importer; his mother was a dressmaker. He attended the Imperial and Royal High School, from 1899 to 1906, and enrolled at the Vienna University of Technology before attending the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, or Wagnerschule, graduating in 1911 with a degree in architecture. As his professional career developed, he enjoyed a relationship with the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

While Schindler and Wright’s relationship ebbed and flowed through the years, Schindler was greatly influenced by the work of Wright. Schindler and Wright eventually had a falling out, and remained estranged for many years. During that time, Schindler’s designs and creativity established his credibility in the world of architecture. For over 30 years, Schindler’s designs impacted the landscape of Los Angeles and the world of architecture.

Our very own Gerald Olesker was also privileged to have worked on Wright-influenced architecture. He worked on the Mat House in Reseda, California, designed by Frank’s son Lloyd Wright and known for its distinctive angular, thatch-like roof. The house was granted historic landmark status in 1996.

Laurel Canyon Overlook

This iconic home was influenced by the Pueblo Indian adobe houses of the Southwest. Schindler made a pilgrimage to the Southwest and was profoundly inspired by the clusters of adobe houses with rounded fronts, hanging in midair in places like Mesa Verde. These influences are clearly translated in this work above Laurel Canyon. The 3,500 square foot home offers breathtaking views of the tree tops of the canyon through glass walls, offering occupants an endless source of light and beauty.

ADG Lighting Real Estate Feature

We are proud of our recent work with Robin Colton Studio on this brilliant property in Austin, Texas. This featured home is currently on the market for $4 million.

austin, texas, adg lighting, custom lighting, adglighting.com

With offices in Agoura Hills and Newport Beach, California, ADG Lighting works with multi-family homes, spec homes, beach homes, restaurants, hotels & resorts, and landmarks worldwide providing high caliber design and sustainable lighting solutions. Viewed millions of times online, the firm’s work has been featured in several media outlets, including 20/Twenty Architectural & Beyond, California Homes Magazine, Elle Decor, SFV Business Journal, Architectural Digest, Institute of Classical Architecture Publications, Wall Street Radio, Fox News Charlene on Green Hawaii, North American Design’s Green Leaders of Tomorrow, LA City Watch, LUXE Magazine + other award-winning magazines, books, programs and properties around the world.