Secretly Demolished: Important Residential Architecture by Great Post-modernist Architect
Recently, one of the best expressions of American Post-Modern style in residential Architecture, Anthony Ames’ Hulse House was demolished secretly in Atlanta.
Obviously, the new owners of the iconic property knew it was important enough to raze it as quietly as possible to prevent any protests from anyone knowledgeable of Architecture. They plan to build a “new rendition” of an old traditional house. Surely it will be huge and very expensive, but will it be REAL Architecture, like the icon they demolished? Probably not, because they plan to build a “traditional house” meaning something that has no reference to 2014, other than it’s countless bells and whistles.
The home they destroyed was an Atlanta icon which was studied by architects all over America, and most probably, the entire world. Designed by Atlanta architect Anthony Ames, it may have been the high point of an entire architectural period– post-modernism– which dominated American architecture from the early 1980’s through the millennium. Most styles, including design from America’s greatest architect- Frank Lloyd Wright, become commercialized and bastardized until they are but a kitsch shadow of the original essence of an important style. So, you newbies that hate post-modernism, get to know that your favorite current style will become way-out-of-style. Unfortunately, this is the hazard (and Atlanta’s) of being perineally in-style, because they become trite once the newest style overcomes. Atlanta has lost hundreds of drop-dead-gorgeous buildings due to its obsession with the newest style. It is great that Atlantans alway want to be stylish, but please leave the architecture of the previous generation to be beloved by future Atlantans.
Other than the fact that it was an important work and I loved it! It must feel terrible for Mr. Ames to see his masterpiece in Atlanta’s best close-in neighborhood razed. Also, it makes me pause, personally, wondering if someone will one day tear down the house I designed in Ansley Park, at 112 Inman Circle and The Prado. I consider it my life’s masterpiece, thus far!
Anthony Ames graduated from acclaimed Georgia Institute of Technology College of Architecture and went on to graduate from Harvard’s Graduate School of Architecture. Atlanta’s esteemed HIGH Museum wrote,
“For more than thirty years Anthony Ames’s geometric white residences have been a modern alternative to the prevailing tradition of historicist architecture in Atlanta. Best known for Hulse House in Ansley Park (1984), his local public commissions include the Orientation Center for the Atlanta Botanical Garden (1984) and the Fulton County Library in Alpharetta (1986). His honors include the Architectural Record House Award for Hulse Pavilion in 1978 and the Progressive Architecture Design Citation for Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Garden Pavilion in 1982.
A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and of the American Academy in Rome, two monographs have been published on Ames’s work: “Five Houses” and “Residential Work Volume 2.” He was awarded the Rome Prize in Architecture in 1983 and has taught at eleven colleges and universities. Ames has maintained a small private practice in Atlanta since 1974. In addition to architecture, he has designed furniture, rugs, and dinnerware, as well as created a series of paintings that inform his work.”
“His carefully designed structures investigate, thoughtfully, critically and didactically, the discipline of architecture as practiced in the modern idiom–informed by precedent, inspired by possibility, and tempered by rational thought.”
Some of his other great work:
From Curbed National, below:
The northeast is stocked with cape cods, colonials, and shingle-style homes, but, remarkably, modern homes have also found a foothold here. Some of the country’s most celebrated architects have built innovative modern residences next door to the New England classics. Philip Johnson built his famous Glass House. Also, great American architects including Marcel Breuer, Richard Meier, Michael Graves, and Anthony Ames.
In Roxbury, CT, a brilliant white structure, completed in 1987 to plans by the Georgia-based, Harvard-trained Anthony Ames, rests just up the hill from a rustic horse barn, but looks like a spaceship by comparison. Defined by titanic walls of glass, the living room is a throwback to true Wall Street-era drama. Set on nine acres in Roxbury, the 3,300-square-foot structure with six-car garage and gym.
Some of Anthony Ames fine drawings (by hand, before CGI):