Craig Ellwood wasn’t always Craig Ellwood, but the Clarendon, Texas, native became renown under that moniker as he made a name as a premiere modernist architect. His homes, often considered works of art (and rightly so), are perfect blends of spare, midcentury German Bauhaus architecture and the more informal California sensibilities of the state he called home longer than the Lone Star State.
Born John Burke in 1922, his family left Texas and found themselves in Los Angeles by the mid-1930s. After joining the Army Air Corps in the forties, he, his brother, and two friends set up shop as contractors under the name Craig Ellwood. Not long after, Burke changed his name to Craig Ellwood, and began night classes in structural engineering.
He opened his own firm, and began to make a name for himself. Despite never having a license as an architect, he was a sought-after guest lecturer and continued to create residential and commercial masterpieces until he closed his shop in 1977 and moved to Italy. He died in 1992.
One of those masterpieces is The Smith House in Los Angeles. Built in 1958, it was restored this year under American Institute of Architects fellow (and former Ellwood associate) Jim Tyler’s guidance. It is now on the market. (more…)