Architect Of Note

Greene and Greene

Brothers Charles Sumner Greene (1868-1957) and Henry Mather Greene (1870-1954), who established the architectural firm of Greene and Greene, were influential American architects. Active primarily in California, their bungalow houses and larger-scale ultimate bungalows are prime exemplars of the American Arts and Crafts Movement.

The brothers were born in Brighton, Ohio, now part of Cincinnati, in 1868 and 1870, respectively. They grew up primarily in St. Louis, Mo., and on their mother's family farm in West Virginia while their father attended medical school. As teenagers, the brothers studied at the Manual Training School of Washington University in St. Louis, graduating in 1887-1888. There they primarily studied metalwork and woodworking. Their father, a practicing homeopathic physician by this time, was very concerned with the need for sunlight and circulating fresh air; the importance of these elements was to become one of the signatures of the brothers' work.

Charles and Henry each received a "certificate for completion of partial course," a special two-year program at MIT's School of Architecture, in 1891. They studied classical building styles, intending at that time only to gain certification for apprenticeships with architecture and construction firms upon graduation. After M.I.T. in spring 1890, Charles apprenticed first with the firm of Andrews, Jaques and Rantoul; but after four and a half months, moved to the office of R. Clipston Sturgis. By March 1891, he had moved again to work with Herbert Langford Warren; and by the following November, he had changed again to the firm of Winslow and Wetherell. He would stay there until the two brothers departed to join their parents in Pasadena, California. Henry apprenticed first with the firm of Chamberlin & Austin and then briefly went to work with Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge. All of the firms the brothers worked for were located in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1893 their parents requested that the sons move to Pasadena, where they had moved to a year before. The brothers agreed and, while traveling by train from Boston, they stopped at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and saw a few examples of Japanese architecture. This experience made a lasting impression on both of them, according to a late-in-life interview with Henry. There was actually very little Japanese influence upon their work until after Charles visited the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis

The Architectural firm of Greene and Greene was established in Pasadena in January 1894, eventually building toward the crescendo of their "ultimate bungalows", such as the Gamble House in Pasadena, generally considered one of the finest examples of residential architecture in the United States. Such ultimate bungalows were completely custom affairs, where the vast majority of ingredients — light fixtures, furniture, even woven textiles — were created for specific spaces in the home.

In 1901 Charles Greene married Alice Gordon White, and they honeymooned in Europe and her native England. It was following this trip that the firm began developing the distinctive stylistic elements that finally came together as a cohesive whole in their grand works of 1907-09. The Greenes developed a personal idiom within the Arts and crafts aesthetic, receiving commissions to design furnishings for their houses. Charles' sketches for the 1903 Mary Darling house were published in England in Academy Architecture the same year, representing the first foreign publication of the firm's work.

Activity in the Greene & Greene office was at its peak during the years 1902-1910, with primary focus on residential design. It was during this period that they created some of their finest work. By 1903, Greene & Greene began to offer integrated design services for their clients, providing design and construction supervision of furniture and other interior appointments. They completed approximately 150 projects during these prolific years.

After 1911 the practice began to decline because Greene & Greene designs demanded higher fees and clients experienced frequent schedule overruns. The situation became unacceptable to most clients and by 1916, the brothers personal interests diverged. Charles moved to Carmel to pursue other creative paths, while Henry continued the firm's work in Pasadena until the dissolution of the firm in 1922. Henry practiced independently after the separation and Charles, too, worked on occasional commissions during the 1940’s, most being additions and renovations for former clients.

The death of Henry’s wife in 1935 affected him so deeply, that he eventually moved to the home of his son and daughter-in-law, where he continued to work on small projects, reuniting with Charles briefly on a commission. Charles managed to remain much more active in architecture during the Depression of the 1930s, but his interests soon shifted to passionate study of Eastern philosophy, spiritualism and creative writing. Henry passed on October 2, 1954, in Pasadena, California and Charles died on June 11, 1957 in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

The Greene and Greene Legacy

Charles and Henry Greene are widely considered to have brought high-art aesthetics and exquisite craftsmanship to the American Arts and Crafts Movement in the early part of the 20th century. Their work continues to be exhibited worldwide and is included in decorative arts collections in museums in the United States and throughout Europe. Greene & Greene designs strongly influenced California’s architectural heritage, their work has had international significance as well, inspiring countless architects and designers around the world through a legacy of extant structures, scholarly books and articles. They were recognized by the American Institute of Architects in 1952 for contributing to a "new and native architecture" and are generally credited with fostering a new way of considering buildings and their furnishings as examples of artistic craft.

Today, the current generation of Greene & Greene aficionados tour the Greene & Greene residencies and other buildings in California with reverence, like pilgrims paying homage to honored monuments. The Gamble House, one of their masterpieces, receives 30,000 visitors a year from all over the world. Recently available public tours of the Thorsen and Blacker houses drew thousands of visitors and raised awareness of both Greene & Greene residential architecture and furniture design. Interior, architectural design, and architectural history journals such as Style 1900 and American Bungalow are now full of vendors offering reproductions of their furniture and décor.

Throughout their career, Greenes took on few commercial projects. Their attention to detail would not have been possible in a larger firm, or one that focused on commercial buildings as well as residential. The Greenes repeatedly turned down offers to construct buildings in downtown Los Angeles. The Greene brothers were masters in their area of domestic concentration for which, until the year of 1948, they received little acclaim. In 1948 they received citations from the Pasadena Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and from the national body in 1952 for creating a “new and native architecture.” In 1960, they were among the pioneer modern architects included in the book Five California Architects by Esther McCoy, where the chapter on the Greenes was written by Randall Makinson.

The Greene & Greene style's influence on California’s architectural history is undeniable. Their style wedded practical comfort and fine art into a refined, crafted masterpiece in which every detail contributed to the overall subtlety of the work, essentially a masterpiece of design.

Notable Work

  • All Saints Episcopal Church (Pasadena, Calif.). Rectory, 132 North Euclid Avenue.
  • All Saints Episcopal Church (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Edward H. Angle House, 58 Bellevue Place, New London Court (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Edward H. Angle House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Earle C. Anthony House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Earle C. Anthony Automobile Showroom (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Philip L. Auten House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Auto Show Pavillion (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Arturo Bandini House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Bank Competition
  • John C. Bentz Store Buildings (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • John C. Bentz House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Nathan Bentz House (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
  • Emma M. Black Cottage (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Annie Blacker House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Robert R. Blacker House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • William T. Bolton House, 131 North Euclid Avenue (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • William T. Bolton House, 370 Del Mar (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • H.K. Bradley House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • C. Brandt House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Charles G. Brown House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • California House
  • California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, Calif.). Dugout
  • Edgar W. Camp House (Sierra Madre, Calif.)
  • Edith J. Claypole House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Mary E. Cole House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Coulter Dry Goods Company Store (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • S.S. Crow House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Cordelia A. Culbertson House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • James A. Culbertson House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • C.P. Daly House (Calif.)
  • Mary R. Darling House (Claremont, Calif.)
  • Caroline S. Deforest House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • R.H.Donnelly Farmhouse (Lake Forest, Ill.)
  • A.M.Drake House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Parker A. Earle Apartment House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Rosa Englemann House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Winthrop B. Fay House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Mortimer Fleishhacker Row Houses (San Francisco, Calif.)
  • Mrs. E.A. Ford House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Freeman A. Ford house (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • David B. Gamble House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Sidney D. Gamble House (Escondido, Calif.)
  • Lucretia R. Garfield House (South Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Theodore P. Gordon House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • S.C. Graham House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • R. Henry C. Green House (Vancouver, B.C.)
  • John T. Greene House (Sacrmento, Calif.)
  • Louise T. Halsted House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Edna L. Hatcher House
  • F.W. Hawks House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Charles W. Hollister House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Cora C. Hollister House (Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Edward B. Hosmer House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • George S. Hull Office (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • J.H. Huntoon House (Visalia, Calif.)
  • Joseph K. Huston House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Louis K. Hyde House (Plainfield, N.J.)
  • Kate A. Kelly House (Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Michael Kew House (San Diego, Calif.)
  • Kinney-Kendall Building (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Hubert F. Krantz House (Palm Beach, Fla.)
  • William M. Ladd House (Nordhoff, Calif.)
  • John Lambert House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Willim J. Lawless House (Sierra Madre, Calif.)
  • Charles W. Leffingwell Bunk House (Whittier, Calif.)
  • Howard Longley House (South Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Samuel Z. Mardian Building (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Frank J. Martin Row Houses (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Samuel Merrill House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Mira Vista Development (Pasadena, Calif.). Site Plans
  • Alexander Moss Merwin House (Pasadena, Calif.)Howard F. Mundorff House (Fresno, Calif.)
  • E. R. Murphy House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • John G. Neumeister House (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
  • Frank L. Palmer House (Pomona, Calif.)
  • Pasadena Drapery Shop Building (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Pasadena Hospital Association Nurses' Home (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Pasadena Ice Company Plant (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Pasadena Security Investment Company Houses (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • John B. Phillips House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Metilde Phillips House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Robert Pitcairn House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Porter House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • H.T. Procter House (Cocoa Nut Beach, Fla.)
  • Mary L. Ranney House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Rose J. Rasey House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Jennie A. Reeve House (Long Beach, Calif.)
  • Jennie A. Reeve Cottage (Long Beach, Calif.)
  • Jennie A. Reeve Cottage (Sierra Madre, Calif.)
  • W. H. Roberts Office Building (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • L.A. Robinson House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Francis F. Rowland House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Samuel P. Sanborn House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Arthur Savage Duplex House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Iwan Serrurier House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Iwan Serrurier Bungalow (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Shelter for View lovers(Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Charles Silent Houses (Glendora, Calif.)
  • Ernest W. Smith House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • South Pasedena Concrete Bridge (South Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Margaret B.S. Clapham Spinks House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • G. Lawrence Stimson House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Charles H. Stoddard House (Burlingame, Calif.)
  • Estelle Strasburg House (Covina, Calif.)
  • James Swan House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Mrs. Francis B. Swan House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Adelaide M. Tichenor House (Long Beach, Calif.)
  • William B. Tomkins House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • W. D. Valentine Houses (Altadena, Calif.). Alterations and New Work
  • Josephine Van Rossem House, 400 Arroyo View Drive (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Josephine Van Rossem House, 210 North Grand Avenue (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Josephine Van Rossem House, 223 Orange Grove Avenue (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Walker House (San Pasqual, Calif.). Alterations
  • Henry A. Ware House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • W.F. West House (Pasadena, Calif.). Addition
  • Lucy E. Wheeler House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Kate A. White House (South Pasadena, Calif.)
  • T. Stewart White House
  • Carrie Whitworth House (Pasadena, Calif.). Alterations and Additions
  • Charles P. Wilcox House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Charles J. Willett Bungalow (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Charles J. Willett House (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Nathan H. Wiliiams House (Altadena, Calif.)
  • Nathan H. Williams House (Altadena, Calif.). Garage
  • O.G. Wilson House (Los Angeles, Calif.). Alterations and Additions
  • Charles S. Witbeck House (Santa Monica, Calif.)
  • Charles D. Witbeck House (Santa Monica, Calif.). Garage
  • Projects by Other Firms