Step into fabled modern architect John Yeon's nature-centric world: 'Quest for Magnificence' at the Portland Art Museum … – OregonLive.com

John Yeon wasn't the man anybody would have picked to assist lead the Pacific Northwest to modern structure's world stage. In the 1930s, he was younger, rich and with out a have to make his mark.

Not like the older, revered Portland architect Pietro Belluschi, who additionally sculpted the Northwest regional type, Yeon did not have a design or engineering diploma, nor expertise laboring in an structure studio.

For the most half, Yeon taught himself to find buildings on land to maintain a low profile whereas maximizing the views. On his personal, he dreamed up methods to make use of what would now be known as sustainable supplies, and his pioneering use of double-paned home windows, passive air flow techniques and radiant warmth flooring many years in the past are actually frequent in vitality-environment friendly houses.

Throughout the dynamic reign of Frank Lloyd Wright, the mushy-spoken and courtly Portland native bought consideration, beginning when he was nonetheless in his 20s. New York's Museum of Modern Art included Yeon's first home in its 1939 ebook, "Art of Our Time," alongside now-iconic works by modernism's maestros, Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier and Wright.

Yeon -- which rhymes with John -- vaulted to the high by sidestepping conference. What he had as an alternative of diplomas and a fats portfolio was ardour for pure magnificence, expertise and a keen first consumer in timber baron Aubrey Watzek.

The self-assured, unlicensed architect was solely 26 when he accomplished his first-constructed residential fee, the 1937 Watzek Home in Portland's Southwest Hills. To this present day, the exacting, U-form dwelling centered round a backyard courtyard "has remained the most pivotal and well-known instance of modern home structure in the Pacific Northwest," in accordance the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations.

From Could 13-Sept. Three, the Portland Art Museum will current a retrospective exhibition, "Quest for Beauty: The Architecture, Landscapes, and Collections of John Yeon." On show can be unique fashions, drawings and images of tasks and buildings the dapper perfectionist designed between 1927 and the mid-1950s.

A pavilion can be erected in the museum courtyard utilizing humble plywood much like the progressive exteriors of Yeon's affordable 1930s spec houses. One other spotlight: Particulars on the 1950 Shaw Home in Lake Oswego,Yeon's solely suburban, extra formal "palace-type" dwelling in existence.

The sunshine-crammed, lately renovated Shaw Home was located "like a ship in the welling meadow," Yeon mentioned. It was first immortalized on the cowl of Home Stunning and, greater than a half century later, it was seen by 1000's of individuals throughout the 2015 Street of Dreams' home tour.

The home's exterior plywood panels had been painted in the pale blue-inexperienced Yeon likened to French King Louis XIV's favourite hue. To this present day, in some circles, that particular colour is known as "John Yeon Blue."

Museum goers viewing the objets d'artwork on show or attending associated events will get a transparent imaginative and prescient of Yeon, who died in 1994 at age 83.

"He was a person who believed deeply in artwork, in the surroundings, and in humanity," museum director Brian Ferriso wrote in an essay in the new ebook, "John Yeon Architecture: Building in the Pacific Northwest" ($60), which has been launched to accompany the exhibition together with the companion ebook, "John Yeon Landscape: Design, Conservation, Activism" ($22.50).

Yeon was a protracted-serving member of the Portland Art Museum's Board of Trustees and the Art Committee. Early in his six-decade profession, he conceived of a few of the galleries inside the 1932 Belluschi-designed museum constructing. When Yeon was solely 21, the museum requested him to contribute drawings of a hillside scheme he known as the "Manifesto Home."

Over his lifetime, Yeon collected Asian and European ornamental arts he thought had been "surprisingly modern." He chosen them as a result of their "inventive spirit" mirrored the artists' temper at the time of creation.

A few of his items used to reinforce his architectural interiors can be displayed, and exhibition curators Maribeth Graybill and Dawson Carr will speak about Yeon's acquisitions, beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 29.

Like Wright, Yeon was typically empowered by his shoppers to find out not solely the design of the home, however the web site in addition to all different particulars, from lighting fixtures and to landscaping.

Richard Louis Brown, Yeon's longtime associate, lived in the Watzek Home after Yeon purchased it from the property of the unique proprietor.

Brown, who based the College of Oregon's John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape together with his reward of the Watzek Home, will speak about his life with Yeon -- "one in all Oregon's most unique personalities," in response to occasion organizers -- at the museum from 2 p.m.-Three p.m on Sunday, July 23.

Maybe the greatest technique to get to know Yeon is to enter his world. The straightforward manner: The partially restored 1948 Rose Building in Portland's Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The landmark with three pavilions pinwheeling round a glass foyer was Yeon's solely executed public construction.

Surprisingly, contemplating his impression, Yeon solely had 18 of his home plans grow to be actuality. Modernist appreciators who need personal possession of a Yeon dwelling can wait years to find one on the market. More easy: Historic house excursions typically embrace one of his projects.

Happily, three exemplar properties are managed by the Yeon Middle, and are often opened to the public: the Watzek House, the close by Cottrell House, which used Yeon's oft-copied prefabricated wall units with louvered ventilation panels, and Yeon's landscaping masterpiece, the Shire, a 78-acre protect on the Washington state aspect of the Columbia Gorge with across-the-river views of Multnomah Falls.

Yeon, an early environmental activist, saved the land from attainable industrial improvement, then spent 25 years nurturing wetlands, river bays and vista factors. A time-lapse video of the seasons at the Shire can be displayed throughout the exhibition.

The Watzek Home

Everybody visiting the modernist masterpiece Watzek Home off Portland's Southwest Skyline Boulevard for the first time tends to have the similar response. A single door encased by nondescript partitions makes them query: "Is that this it?"

Yeon wished the small entry and the courtyard past it to start a development of evocative experiences of areas and landscapes, or as he described it, "a sequence of revelations."

He advised a then-unconventional design to first consumer Watzek that employed seeming simplicity, Japanese aesthetic and knot-free Douglas fir. Yeon even discovered the woody, Three.6-acre property for the standing residence.

Glass partitions had been positioned to border Mount St. Helens to the north, Mount Hood to the east and the Tualatin Valley to the south. Roof angles mimic Mount Hood.

Watzek rejected Yeon's thought at first. Most architect-designed houses constructed between the World Wars had been European Revival types. After Watzek conferred with Belluschi, nonetheless, he gave Yeon the go forward. Belluschi, the head of the venerable A.E.Doyle workplace, additionally agreed for Yeon to work there with the employees offering technical paperwork.

The Shire

The landscaping venture known as the Shire, impressed by J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," ties to Yeon's early service on Oregon's first parks advisory fee and his father's work. Anybody who drives the contours of the Columbia River Freeway owes that thrill to Yeon's father, John Baptiste Yeon II, a profitable timber businessman who accepted a token $ a 12 months wage to function Multnomah County street grasp.

The senior Yeon oversaw the development of America's first scenic freeway and prevented the land from being brutally minimize for a straight speedway.

Whereas engaged on the parks advisory fee, the youthful Yeon chosen public land to be transformed into scenic vistas, auto camps, campsites and recreation grounds. Out of his personal pocket, he purchased land that's now the John Yeon State Natural Area close to Ecola State Park and Cannon Seaside.

At the Shire, blackberries and different invasive vegetation on the former farmstead had been rigorously changed by a lovely association of ash and cottonwood bushes. Yeon additionally created an amphitheater-like berm that hid a dug-out house. The primary picnics for the Friends of the Columbia Gorge had been set right here, atop Oriental rugs and close to a carpet of Astoria Elysium grass.

Regardless of his architectural achievements, Randy Gragg, govt director of the Yeon Middle, says Yeon ought to be remembered for his conservation work.

"He was proudest writing the first environmental impression assertion for the Columbia River Gorge, shaping the early requirements for Oregon highways, stopping a trio of street tasks that might have marred treasured scenic vistas, taking part in a pivotal function in the creation of Olympic Nationwide Park, and stopping the demolition of the Greek Revival First Nationwide Financial institution in Portland," wrote Gragg in "John Yeon: Structure."

Gragg will speak about Yeon's legacy at the museum from 2 p.m.-Three p.m. on Sunday, June 11.

-- Janet Eastman

jeastman@oregonian.com
503-799-8739
@janeteastman

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Step into fabled modern architect John Yeon's nature-centric world: 'Quest for Magnificence' at the Portland Art Museum ... - OregonLive.com