Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bungalow Heaven

This is one of the seventy-eight plus gray and white bungalows owned by the Menil foundation.

Another gray and white bungalow.

This bungalow is occupied by Da Camera.

In another bungalow is the Menil Bookstore.

The Menil Collection Museum in Houston, Texas. This gray and white, modern style building was designed by Pritzker-Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano who, with architect Richard Rogers, designed the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, France.

Here's another view of the Menil Collection Museum.

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Above is the Cy Twombly Gallery at the Menil Collection (i.e., just across the street from the Menil.) This building was also designed by Renzo Piano. The interior, which one is not allowed to photograph, is the real star of this Piano design: the roof of the building is designed to let in every ray of natural light and the ceiling of every room is of white canvas, which casts a luminescent glow. Magical!

In Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, there are no zoning laws. An attempt to control neighborhood blight is through enforcement of deed restrictions. An historic designation on a building in this city doesn't stop the bulldozers; it only slows them. Therefore, it is rare to find a neighborhood that is esthetically and architecturally consistent, especially an old one. Not far from the downtown area is the neighborhood of Lancaster Place, a community of all gray and white 1920's and 1930's bungalows. Some of the bungalows are rented and some are used as offices. Among these charming, well conserved bungalows are thoughtfully designed buildings by world-class architects. Everything blends; there are no monster condos or McMansions. Also in the neighborhood are the Rothko Chapel and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel. This jewel of a neighborhood and world art hub is the result of years spent in thoughtful philanthropic planning by Dominique and Jean de Menil who bought the bungalows in 1960 and had them all painted gray with white trim. Some say that Dominique's choice of colors was inspired by a village in her native France. The French do have a way with grey!

Outside Links:
FindArticles - Obituary: Dominique de Menil
Independent, The (London), Feb 14, 1998, by Marguerite Johnston

Da Camera of Houston

The Menil Collection

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this!!! These are great reference pictures!