Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More on the Holly Theatre, Medford

On Monday the JPR Foundation held a public meeting at a generous Medford restaurant to present its vision for the renovation of the Holly Theatre as a performing arts center.  About 50 interested folks and most of the local media showed up, to hear about the building’s history and its future.  It was a productive meeting, and hopefully will push the City of Medford to provide some seed money to kick start the building.  Here’s a link to the local newspaper story:

One of the most exciting results of this meeting, at least for me, was that a local who in his own words “grew up at the Holly” (his father was the theatre manager) brought in some plans for its last major remodel, in 1976.  I have been searching for any plans of the building, as a way to help guide us as to what it originally looked like. 

Of course knowing the original design is a key tool in restoring it and while poking around the building will occur, it’s good to have some documentation to point that poking in the right direction.  At the Cascade Theatre, in Redding, California, we sometimes had very little to go on (those are remnants, threads, of the original carpet below...we found them under the plate of a non-original partition wall and extrapolated the carpet colors from them). 

Thankfully, at the Holly, we have an entire room that still has its  carpet but I sure would like to find more information on the original design- the seat fabric, the curtains, the lighting AND and the original plans, to go with the drawings from 1976.  We'll keep looking and, if things go as they often do, we'll find somebody that squirreled them away eventually.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Architectural Historians, always a fun group of folk, came up with the term “Bungaloid” to refer to what I suppose everyone else would call “bungalow-like” structures, being those residential designs that share some of the common “bungalow” elements, but don’t otherwise quite fit the mold.  When I was at the UofO I played on an inter-mural volleyball team called the “Bungaloids,” but that’s a different story.

I am often asked to lecture on architectural styles (and did so this weekend, which is what has me thinking along these lines). Let's be honest.  Things termed “bungalow” are something of a polyglot, complicated by the fact (and there is just no other way to put it) that the word itself is just so melodic that it's almost fun to say it.  Bungalow-Bungalow-Bungalow.  It sounds like a chant. I mean really, stylistic attributes  and philosophical under-pinnings aside, wouldn’t you rather tell people at a party that you live in a “bungalow” than in a Colonial Revival or American Foursquare?  It just sounds prettier and more tasteful.

Which is, of course, what led to the problem of trying to explain just what IS a bungalow, and what is just Bungalow-wannabe?  When we get to the point that particular styles are advertised as “Italianate Bunaglows” or “Colonial Bungalows” I think we have wandered pretty far from the plains of India or whatever visions of small-scale, naturalistic, living Charles and Henry Greene, Gustav Stickley, or Edward Bok had in mind.  Not that what any of those guys had in mind was necessarily a “real” bungalow to begin with.

Still, everyone today (thanks a bunch This Old House) wants to believe that they live in a Bungalow (or even better, a CRAFTSMAN bungalow) and so the term gets further muddied.  But it is a great term.  What do you think are "must have" Bungalow elements?  Is the image above, from a catalog published in 1923 (okay, a little late for a TRUE believer bungalow), really a Bungalow at all?