Title: Beach Houses Andrew Geller
Author/s: Alastair Gordon
Photographer/s: Andrew Geller
Editor: Mark Lamster
Art director: Deb Wood
Size: 263mm x 203mm, 128pp
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Publisher www: https://www.papress.com/html/our.home.page.tpl
For many Australians, the idea of a beach house, the archetypal shack, is a memory, a reality, an aspiration or all of the above. For American architect, Andrew Geller during the 1950’s and 60’s, designing quirky beach houses was a passion.
In this book, author Alastair Gordon recalls meeting the then 78 year old Geller and their subsequent conversation while driving around an area that was once home to some of his designs.
His quotes are pithy and pointed.
“Bigger is not always better, most of these new houses are ridiculously oversized for their lots, too close together.”
“You should only use 20 percent of a building lot, but within that area be as unpredictable as possible.”
The conversation with Geller segues though some contemporary observations of his work (“Geller’s mission, as he saw it, was to liberate the American vacation house") comfortably into his life story.
Geller’s father was a commercial artist, Geller himself studied art as well as architecture before becoming fascinated by industrial design and joining Loewy. Here, he worked as an industrial designer and architect – and began taking outside commissions to design his trademark beach houses.
The remainder of the book strolls though Geller's work, in a semblance of chronological order.
Historical photographs, letters, design sketches, working drawings and more serve to bring each of the featured houses to life, giving us an insight into a design process that wove the homes into the lives of their occupants.
The book concludes with a look at some of Geller’s other work, including the “Leisurama” and modular Vacation House System, before closing the circle as the author and Geller discover one of his remaining beach houses.
According to the dust jacket, Alastair Gordon is contributing editor for architecture and design at WSJ, the Wall Street Journal’s magazine. He is also an award-winning author, critic, curator and film maker.