Join us in commemorating the 40th anniversary of Watzek Library on Sunday, October 28 at 2pm in the Council Chamber, Templeton Student Center. Dr. Leland Roth, University of Oregon Marion D. Ross Distinguished Professor of Architectural History will present “Aubrey Watzek and the Birth of Northwest Modern Architecture“.
Professor Roth writes,
It seems, in retrospect, ironically significant that an Oregon lumberman and the son of another prominent Oregon lumberman should together create a house that would introduce the principles of modernism to Portland in the late 1930s. Appropriately it was not an adapted European modernism of steel, concrete and flat roofs, but a distinctly American modernism built of northwest woods, with broad banks of windows protected from northwest rains by pitched roofs. Aubrey Watzek was the commissioning patron of this house, and a 26-year old John Yeon was its designer. The Watzek house in Portlandâ€™s west hills almost instantly was recognized, published, and celebrated by New Yorkâ€™s Museum of Modern Art as representing the best of early northwest modernism. Today the simple, almost ascetic elegance of the house and its careful attention to detail remain a touchstone in Portlandâ€™s artistic history and mark a time when Portlandâ€™s architects and patrons ceased copying Eastern formulaic historicism and created instead a new independent expression, uniquely adapted to the landscape and climate of the Pacific Northwest.
Professor Roth began teaching at University of Oregon in 1978. He has written extensively on the history of American architecture, and he is currently preparing a history of architecture in Oregon from the earliest Euro-American settlement to the present, as well as a guidebook to Oregon architecture.
Reception to follow in Stamm East.