Saving Lieb House / John Halpern & James Venturi / 2010

Saving Lieb House / John Halpern & James Venturi / 2010


Footnotes

The Liebs have heard that their neighbors thoroughly dislike the house. “I guess they thought it was so much uglier than theirs—but then probably they don't consider their own houses ugly,” Mrs. Lieb said. One neighbor who had been extremely friendly before the house was finished, stopped speaking with the Liebs after it was done, she said. ➡︎

The house was designed for a honky-tonk Barnegat Light neighborhood that had disappeared by the time we moved it. It looked so poignant floating up the East River, beside the city skyline and under the Brooklyn Bridge. It was incredibly small, but it seemed to dwarf New York around it. I don’t know how. Now it sits quietly by the water in high-class residential surroundings. ➡︎

Scott Brown harbors no nostalgia for Lieb House’s funkier origins. “It lost its context, so there’s no point grieving for the fact that it had to move,” she said. “It’s now a temple of contemplation on a very serene site.” ➡︎

In its new location, however, the former beach cottage represents something of a conundrum. Without its ticky-tacky Jersey Shore environment to play off, it is as isolated from its former meanings as a urinal in an art gallery. Its new location and status begs several questions: Is it an example of the revival of the ordinary? Does the translation in space accomplish an archiving of modernism’s romance with the ordinary? Or, is this translation rather an attempt to redeem the ordinary? ➡︎


Sources

◼︎ A Family Who Built a ‘Real Dumb House’ in ‘Banal Environment’ / Rita Reif / The New York Times / 1970

◼︎ Interview: Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown, by Andrea Tamas / ArchDaily / 2011

◼︎ Domesticities: Lieb House, Saved / Pilar Viladas / T Magazine / 2012

◼︎ Can Architecture Be Ordinary? / Deborah Fausch / MAS Context / 2014


    Extras

    ◼︎ Only 40 but Having A Change of Life – The Lieb House / Fred B. Adelson, Ph.D. / 2009


    Bachman Wilson House / Jon Roemer / 2014

    Bachman Wilson House / Jon Roemer / 2014

    Los Angeles / Ian Wood / 2015

    Los Angeles / Ian Wood / 2015