On Instagram: Touring Saint Ronan Modern in New Haven Plus Other Buildings Not on The Tour

This past weekend I hopped on a train to New Haven, Connecticut to join the New Haven Preservation Trust, New Haven Modern (which is an initiative of the NHPT) and DoCoMoMo-US on a tour of the modern architecture of the Prospect Hill Historic District in New Haven. Largely characterized for its outstanding examples of Queen Anne, Shingle Style, Colonial Revival, Italian Renaissance Revival, French Renaissance Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival style houses, the Saint Ronan/Edgehill Neighborhood is also home to a handful of mid-century modern infill houses.

Led by architectural historians Chris Wrigen and Charlotte Hitchcock, the tour was loosely based around the theme of fitting modernism into an existing neighborhood like Saint Ronan/Edgehill.

Organized as part of DoCoMoMo’s Tour Day—the annual initiative designed to raise public awareness for mid-century modern buildings and landscapes in the United States—the Saint Ronan Modern tour attracted more than 50 people and included more than 30 buildings, the bulk of which were buildings of the modern movement.

The tour started at the Bethesda Lutheran Church on Saint Ronan Street and concluded on Canner Street with the 1950s Yale Divinity School apartments and a Post-Modern house  designed in 1986 by Peter Tagiuri.

The Bethesda Lutheran Church was designed by the Office of Douglas Orr in 1955-1958. The architect was H. Dillingham Palmer and the church is designed in a “Scandinavian Modern” style with red bricks, light-colored wood and an A-shape roof that suggests Gothic architecture. According to the tour guides, Orr was not a fan of the modern architecture of the time, so he relegated certain commissions to other designers in the firm. The Bethesda Lutheran Church was one of those commissions.



For some context to the modern houses we were about to see, the tour guides stopped at several houses on Saint Ronan Street, including the Adolph Mendel House designed in 1913 by R. W. Foote (illustrated below) and the J. Edward Heaton House designed in 1903 by Leoni W. Robinson.


After this brief stop, we walked over to Autumn Street to look at four houses designed between 1905 and 1967. Parallel to Saint Ronan Street, Autumn Street is home to several mid-century modern homes built as infill on subdivided parcels.

The first stop on Autumn Street was the J. Edward Heaton Carriage House built around 1905 and renovated and expanded in the 1960s by the office of E. Carleton Granbery. A former barn converted to a residence, the house features a lush courtyard connecting the interior with the exterior, epitomizing what the tour guides referred to as “California-living” style.


The Mrs. E.H. Tuttle House designed in 1956 by E. Carleton Granbery also in the “Californian living” style.


50 Autumn Street is home to the Dr. Jose Delgado House designed in 1959 by Gualtier & Johnson and expanded in 1988 by Edward Kubler.


One of my favorite buildings on the tour was the Stanley and Margaret Leavy House at 70 Autumn Street. Designed in 1967 by Granbery, Cash & Associates, the house has become the poster child for Saint Ronan Modern. While setback from the street, it is impossible to miss this bold, stunning house in an otherwise architecturally quiet street.


On Edgehill Road is the Robert and Judith Evenson House designed in 1979 by Peter Kosinski/Kosinski Architecture. The house is built on the site of the former St. Francis Orphan Asylum, demolished in 1963.

After the Evenson House, we headed to Loomis Place to look at several buildings that form part of the Foote School. Among the architects whose buildings form part of the Foote School include Perkins & Will (with E. Carleton Granbery), David Cochran & Miller, Roth & More as well as Maryann Thompson Architects.


One of the more striking houses on the tour was the John and Ruth Martin House at 55 Loomis Place. Designed in 1967 by Sidney T. Miller, the house is a two-story frame house with features that recall Prairie Style houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. Unfortunately, there’s is very little out there on the architecture of Sidney T. Miller, but from what I have been able to see, his work deserves a second look.


Finally, the tour concluded on Canner Street with the 1950s Yale Divinity School apartments designed by the office of Douglas Orr. In contrast to the Divinity School apartments which stands out from its neighbors, the Post-modern house on the next block over on Canner Street was designed in 1986 by Peter Tagiuri and fits in perfectly with its surroundings.



After the tour, I decided to explore two more buildings on my own: The First Presbyterian Church designed in 1966 by John Dinkeloo and expanded in 2005 by Christiaan Dinkeloo (son of John Dinkeloo) and finally, the Whitney Avenue Fire Station designed in 1962 by the firm of Carlin, Pozzi & Millard.



New Haven was a hotbed for modernism and within Yale University you’ll find many buildings designed by some of the leading architects of the time. I took some time to revisit some old friends I hadn’t seen in a few years.

Phillip Johnson and Associates’ Kline Biology Tower, 1964.


Ingalls Hockey Rink, 1957, Eero Saarinen



Marcel Breuer’s Becton Engineering and Applied Science Center (now known as the Becton Center for Engineering Innovation & Design), 1968.


Interior of the Yale University Art Gallery, 1953, Louis I. Kahn.


Paul Rudolph’s Art and Architecture Building (Yale School of Architecture), 1961.


Gordon Bunshaft’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 1961.



The Community Services Building (now known as the Knights of Columbus Museum), Douglas Orr, deCossy, Winder and Associates, 1965.


For more of the architecture seen on the Saint Ronan Modern tour, head over to my Instagram where you’ll find photos of the entire itinerary (some included here).

Kingston Gallery Director Named Curator at Fruitlands Museum


Shana Dumont Garr, Image courtesy of Fruitlands Museum.

Former director of Kingston Gallery in Boston, Shana Dumont Garr has been named Curator at Fruitlands Museum. Prior to joining the Fruitlands Museum, Ms. Dumont Garr was the Director of Programs & Exhibitions at Artspace in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Montserrat Art Gallery in Beverly, MA; and the Hurst Gallery in Cambridge, MA. The Fruitlands Museum which was recently acquired by The Trustees of Reservations is a 210-acre historic, natural, and cultural destination based in Harvard, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1914 by author and preservationist Clara Endicott Sears.

The Fruitlands Museums consists of the National Historic Landmark, the Farmhouse; The Shaker Museum; The Native American Museum and The Art Museum—home to Hudson River School landscape paintings and 19th century vernacular portraits.

Aside from curating exhibitions at the Fruitlands Museum, Ms. Dumont Garr will be caring for the collection and overseeing the artist-in-residence program.

Congrats to Shana Dumont Garr!

From Diana to Pinhole Cameras at The Somerville Toy Camera Festival


Lauren McMahon, Self-Portrait – 8×10 pinhole camera. Image courtesy of the artist.

As the saying goes, it’s not the camera you use, it’s what you do with it that matters. At the Somerville Toy Camera Festival, this saying rings true again and again as the artists selected to participate in the exhibition prove that you can still make a good photograph without needing professional equipment.

For those of us who have yet to get on the toy camera train, it all started in the 1960s at the Great Wall Plastic Factory in Hong Kong, China where the famous Diana camera was born. The Diana—an inexpensive, plastic-bodied and plastic lens camera took the United States and England by storm (and also every Somerville Toy Camera Festival it seems). Fully functional cameras with limited controls, toy cameras are infamous for their light leaks and poor quality lenses that produce vignettes and blurring many of us only experience through Instagram filters.

Spread across three galleries in Somerville—The Nave Gallery Annex, Brickbottom Gallery and Washington Street Arts Center—this year’s Somerville Toy Camera Festival has on view more than one hundred images made by eighty-six artists from across the country (including a handful of international artists). Since 2003, the Somerville Toy Camera Festival has proven that our fascination with plastic cameras has never really fallen out of favor—and that’s a good thing, given that much of the work on view is always impressive.

Among the many highlights at the Brickbottom Gallery include Brian Franczyk’s untitled images made with a Vermeer pinhole camera, Sarah Holbrook’s “Ann on the Dock” and Bill Franson’s “Senior Citizens.” Caroline Nicola’s wonderfully evocative portrait of a man in profile, brought to mind the early days of Daguerreotype photography. Julia Curl, Lys Guillorn, Michelle Hogan, Kathleen Donohoe, Atsuko Morita and Lisa Lindamood were some of the ladies whose work stood out.

The fun continues over at the Nave Gallery Annex in Davis Square where among the highlights of the works on view include Christopher Turner’s “Bottled Liquors” made with a Lomography Sprocket Rocket camera, Gregory Russo’s “Stripes” and Michael Weitzman’s “Hey Joe.” Lauren McMahon’s hauntingly beautiful, pinhole camera self-portrait is definitely worthy of your attention.

I can think of only a handful of exhibits in the Boston area that are as exciting and playful as the Somerville Toy Camera Festival. You can catch the exhibits at the Nave Gallery Annex and the Washington Street Arts Center until October 1st and at the Brickbottom Gallery until October 15th

Header Image of a Diana Camera by James Whitesmith on Flickr used under the Creative Commons License.

Book Review: Not Sure What to Order at Dim Sum? No Problem. The Dim Sum Field Guide is Here to Help


Image by faikevin on Flickr. Used under the Creative Commons License.

Can’t tell the difference between xia jiao and guo tie Don’t fret, a new dim sum field guide is looking to make you an expert in this ancient Chinese culinary tradition.

dim-sum-field-guide-coverWritten and illustrated by Carolyn Phillips—a food writer, editor and illustrator fluent in Chinese—The Dim Sum Field Guide: A Taxonomy of Dumplings, Buns, Meats, Sweets, and Other Specialties of the Chinese Teahouse, has already become my go-to guide to everything and anything that pertains to the history and dishes of dim sum. An in-depth exploration of the delights of the Cantonese version of dim sum, this guide was born out of a shorter, but equally descriptive and enticing piece published in Lucky Peach magazine in 2012.

When “The Beginner’s Guide to Dim Sum” was first published, there were many of ecstatic foodies out there. I, for one, devoured the Chinatown issue of Lucky Peach within hours of purchasing it and kept returning to “The Beginner’s Guide to Dim Sum” again and again. When Buzzfeed republished a couple of months later, it became an instant sensation and several of my Facebook friends kept posting it throughout the winter. It garnered more than 425,685 views and still counting. I was thrilled that Ms. Phillips’ article was gaining the attention it so clearly deserved, but it wasn’t until Ten Speed Press announced that it would publish an expanded version of the guide as a hardcover book, when I knew everything would come full circle for me. My thirst for more dim sum knowledge was quenched when the book  finally came out last week.

Dim sum’s history goes as far back as one thousand years and according to Ms. Phillips, the culinary tradition reached its height in the tea houses of Southern China, specifically those in the city of Guangzhou. The Guanzhou version is more or less the version of dim sum many of us know today.

The Dim Sum Field Guide, being just over five by six inches in dimension is a bit too big to fit in a pocket and yet too small to be considered a coffee table book. (I think this could be a very cool coffee table book featuring both photographs and illustrations of dim sum dishes across China). However, the book is portable like any field guide and its size should not discourage you from bringing it to your next dim sum adventure.

The guide is beginner friendly and comprehensive at the same time, which is something difficult to accomplish when compiling a field guide of any sort. As someone already familiar with many dim sum dishes, I found myself learning about many more I was vaguely familiar with or too hesitant to order prior to owning The Dim Sum Field Guide

Part of the allure of a field guide is a having layout that’s easy to follow along with descriptive text and accurate illustrations. The Dim Sum Field Guide does not disappoint in this aspect. Organized into two sections: savory and sweet dishes, the guide includes full size illustrations on the left-hand page and detailed information—including historical background on many of the dishes featured in it. Flavors and variations of the same dishes area also discussed with each entry.

If you’ve never had dim sum, but have always wanted to try it The Dim Sum Field Guide is a book for both the beginner and the “expert.” For the beginner, Ms. Phillips includes a discussion on dim sum dining etiquette as well as a brief introduction to the types of tea served during this very popular meal. For the “expert,” it works up an appetite for more adventurous dim sum dining possibilities.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Featured image by faikevin on Flickr. Used under the Creative Commons License.