The Sensuous Environment: Sim Bruce Richards, Architect by Keith York


Following his time with Frank Lloyd Wright as a young man, San Diego artist/architect Sim Bruce Richards created his own design language. He combined the logic and problem solving acumen of architecture with his talent as an artist and turned them into a single, passionate, lifelong pursuit. Spanning much of the 20th Century, The Sensuous Environment: Sim Bruce Richards, Architect details the life and projects influenced by his Cherokee heritage, as much as the culture and climate of his youth in Oklahoma and Arizona as well as the unique regional history of early California architecture.This book tells the story of Richards, who built primarily private residences for his clients, he called “the sensitive ones” that sought his designs for their homes to engage all of their senses. His sensuous environments of wood, adobe, rock, glass and masonry are masterworks of California Design – many of which enjoy the built-in artistry of ceramist Rhoda LeBlanc Lopez and multidisciplinary artist James Hubbell.Across 200 documented projects, Richards drew from the Arts and Crafts movement, Bay Area architect Bernard Maybeck, San Diegan Irving Gill as well as Wright to create a unique body of work across the state.Through drawings as well as vintage and contemporary photography, The Sensuous Environment: Sim Bruce Richards, Architect is the first publication to dig deep into his art, architecture, furniture and rug designs, as well as his work in drawing, painting and collage.
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Keith York is a writer focused on unveiling the unique history of modern art and architecture in the San Diego region.As the principal of Modern San Diego, an online resource since 2004, York has collated thousands of documents, images and interviews to tell the story of the region’s modern architecture. Following his restoration of architect Craig Ellwood’s Bobertz House (1953-55) he is engaged in restoring Sim Bruce Richards’ personal residence (1957). Having made both homes widely available to tours, visitors and photographers alike he has expressed that these are two examples of the broader narrative on regional modernism.Prior to “The Sensuous Environment: Sim Bruce Richards Architect,” York curated and published catalogs for the following exhibitions “Julius Shulman: Modern San Diego”; “Julius Shulman: Modern La Jolla”; and “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Legacy in San Diego: The Taliesin Apprentices.” York also contributed a chapter to the book “Making L.A. Modern: Craig Ellwood – Myth, Man, Designer” (Rizzoli, 2018).As a residential real estate agent focused on the sales of architect-designed homes, York connects clients to homes by an array of architects and designers I have researched for years and guides them on restorative processes, historical designation and Mills Act protections. Julius Shulman (1910 – 2009) help launch the profession of architectural photography in the years following World War II. Through publications, exhibits and personal appearances his work ushered in a new appreciation for modern architecture years after he captured images in Los Angeles of the work of Richard Neutra, Charles Eames, Raphael Soriano and Pierre Koenig among others. His archive is now located at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.


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