Long Beach Modern Returns - Page 2

University Art Museum back ‘in the habit’ with impressive home tour lineup Oct. 13
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
Two photos of the Mcwilliams Residence by John W. McWilliams (1958). Photos: Darren Bradley
Fridays on the Homefront
The Pekrul House, 1968 addition to 1924 bungalow by Paul Tay. Photo: Darren Bradley

A second office building on the tour was the workplace of another big name in Long Beach mid-century architecture, the father-son firm of Gibbs & Gibbs. Fruta noted that the younger Gibbs, Donald, designed the Walter Pyramid building on campus, "very iconic for the CSULB brand—it's a big deal for us."

Don Gibbs also designed their minimalist, glass-walled offices (1963), which once were documented by architectural photographer Julius Schulman.

While Killingsworth and other cutting-edge architects were changing modern design in the Case Study program, they had an admirer in engineer John McWilliams. When it came time for McWilliams and his father, a contractor, to design and build John's dream home, he knew what he wanted.

"They actually designed the home as a tribute to the Case Study houses," said Fruta of the McWilliams Residence. The house drew another avid admirer this decade in local realtor Blake Nikolai, who made it a point to drive by it often.

"He noticed that this was really a modern architectural gem, and he became interested in it and noticed it wasn't really being taken care of," the spokeswoman said of Nikolai and his wife, praising their eventual purchase and restoration of the 1958 construction: "It's really amazing."

The October 13 tour will also include the Pekrul House, which Fruta calls "probably the most different-looking on the tour," as well as the smallest. It also is the most altered of the six, being a 1924 construction added onto by architect Paul Tay in 1968. Nonetheless, for Fruta, features such as "really charming built-ins" and unusual tiling give this one an escapist quality that she loves, "like you're on vacation."

'UAM Modern Architecture Tour 2018' is a fundraiser for University Art Museum programs, with ticket discounts for museum members. For tickets and more information, click here.