During his all too brief career, Lockwood de Forest Jr. (1896–1949) experimented with an astonishing range of design ideas in both his gardens and his buildings. Had he lived longer, he almost certainly would have been one of the leaders of the modernist movement in Southern California. Few today realize the iconoclasm of de Forest's designs, from his proto-modernist work at Val Verde, the Wright Ludington estate in Montecito, to his remarkable modernist beach houses of the 1940s, which featured retractable garage-door walls. This talk will focus primarily on de Forest's c. 1926 design for his own house and garden in Santa Barbara, which has recently undergone extensive restoration.
A number of projects by de Forest can be related to this innovative structure and its surrounding gardens, including a series of Montecito estates of the 1930s and 1940s in which de Forest’s designs became increasingly spare and stripped of historical reference. De Forest's architectural approach, evident in the design of his Santa Barbara house and garden, was balanced by his horticultural sophistication. His precocious interest in native and drought-resistant plants, reflected in his writing for the Santa Barbara Gardener and his work for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, shaped these unique gardens as well. The recent transfer of the de Forest family archives to UCSB has made deeper analysis of this important practitioner possible.
Robin Karson is director of Library of American Landscape History in Amherst, Massachusetts, the leading publisher of books that advance the study of American landscape design, and the author of several books, including A Genius for Place: American Landscapes of the Country Place Era.
Things to Know
This event is for all ages.
This event is wheelchair accessible.
The organizer of this event is Modernism Week.
Event Check-in Location
Modernism Week CAMP Theater, 575 N Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Photo Credits: William Frederick Peters. William Frederick Peters. William Frederick Peters. Photo courtesy Lockwood de Forest Jr. Archive, UCSB. Photo by Robin Karson. Photo by Steven Keylon.
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