Much has been written about the Arts & Crafts spirit of Californians, their appreciation of the land, their desire to build simple yet interesting houses that connect with the outdoors (sleeping porches, gardens, verandas, terraces, and so on), and their love of natural building materials. This revised edition of a foundation classic focuses on the beginnings (1865 and on) of environmentalism and Arts & Crafts collaboration in California, and the origins of the trend toward building simple rustic homes in harmony with nature.
Freudenheim and Sussman explore how and why a small, influential group of Californians (including Joseph Worcester, Bernard Maybeck, Charles Keeler, William Keith, Charles Lummis, A. Page Brown, and others)--all of whom had come from the East or from England--were especially devoted to Ruskin and the Arts & Crafts and how this combined with their dedication to preserve California's natural beauty to create a unique architectural movement.
Building with Nature: Development of the California Arts & Crafts Home presents some revolutionary ideas, including exciting new material on the San Francisco Swedenborgian Church, now a National Landmark and considered to be the model for several lines of Mission-style furniture; new information on the architectural development of Russian hill; and the similarities and differences of the almost simultaneous development of the Arts & Crafts movements in England and the Bay Area. Freudenheim examines how Worcester and his circle encouraged less materialism through architecture that complemented a simpler life in tune with nature, and includes letters from Worcester to his cousin, architect Daniel H. Burnham, along with previously unpublished original documents relating to architectural developments in the Bay Area at the turn of the century.
Leslie Freudenheim, with coauthor Elisabeth Sussman, did pioneering research on the Arts & Crafts movement and its architectural manifestations in the San Francisco Bay region. This collaboration resulted in the publication of Building with Nature: Roots of the San Francisco Bay Region Tradition (Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 1974).
Subsequently, Freudenheim continued her work in architectural history. She wrote a weekly column on architecture and urban affairs for the Baltimore Sun, and contributed to the Washington Post and Museum News. Thereafter she served as Editor of Federal Design Matters for the Design Department, National Endowment for the Arts, and while living in Berlin (1999-2000) wrote on art and architecture for DieWelt and Art News. Since 2001 she has returned to studying the architectural and social roots of the Arts & Crafts movement in California. Freudenheim lives in Washington, D.C.
Elisabeth Sussman is a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her recent exhibitions and catalogues include Eva Hesse: A Retrospective and Diane Arbus: Revelations (both originated at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). Sussman lives in New York City.