He writes, of course, of the sad fate that is to befall 10330 Strait Lane, the “modern gem” designed by “Enslie” Bud Oglesby that we discovered is headed for a beheading, then a chop-down by bulldozer, with its final resting place to be some landfill in Lewisville.
Hard to imagine Oglesby’s work meeting such a fate.
Mark Lamster is the Dallas Morning News’ architecture critic, who also teaches at UTA. A few years ago, the Dallas Morning News and UT-Arlington’s School of Architecture joined forces to recruit him from New York. He had been an associate editor with The Architectural Review and a contributing editor at Design Observer, did a stint as editor at Princeton Architectural Press, and has published a couple books on architects, including Philip Johnson, one of our city’s finest.
Lamster notes in his blog post that the Philip Johnson home, the Henry C. Beck residence, is alive and on the market right next door to the Oglesby estate. For $27.5 million. What a contrast: that home is being sold with (I believe) a restriction that it cannot be mowed down.
There are no shortage of streets with large mansions and tall gates in North Dallas, but if you really want to see where the money is, if you really want to be somebody, a good place to go is Strait Lane. Ross Perot has his house there, if “house” is even the word for something of that scale, sequestered behind massive shrubs. Dirk Nowitzki lives there. The provenance of the Oglesby house is a testament to the Lane’s cachet. It was built, in 1971, for the daughter of Dallas mayor and industrialist Erik Jonsson, and then sold to the Dedman family, whose name is quite literally synonymous with SMU.
Yeah, well, there are some others on Strait Lane, too.
He says the “house Oglesby designed for these patrons was, if not modest in scale, at least unpretentious and commodious, full of light and efficiently calibrated in plan. This was what modern living in Dallas could be at its best: stylish and luxurious and, yes, a little bit sexy. It had taste, but not too much, which is just the right amount, because too much taste makes life claustrophobic. And that’s not Dallas.”
Not sure I agree with that last statement, but what I think he is talking about is restraint. We were better at it in the old days. A little bit of holding back even if you can afford ten thousand Corinthian columns with golf leaf you restrain yourself because it is simply not in good taste to show all that.
Don’t shove all your money into the faces of those who don’t have as much.
Sometimes I think we are guilty of this in Dallas, both in our fashion and our interior design style (myself included!). Certainly I’d have nothing to write about if we all practiced this simplicity of form. Oglesby knew how to be simple but chic:
“Honesty in materials, simplicity of form, sensitivity to place, this was the Oglesby canon, and it changed very little over the years,” critic David Dillon wrote in the architect’s 1993 obituary, which lauded him for “buildings that don’t call attention to themselves, that are discreet and deferential and conceived as parts of larger wholes.”
The Strait Lane house, he says, “is reflective of that experience, and his (Oglesby’s) broad knowledge of the building art.”
The single-story domicile with open courts was a typology pioneered by Mies van der Rohe and refined by his acolyte Philip Johnson. Ironically, the house sits on a plot next to Johnson’s own Beck House, from a moment in Johnson’s career when he had abandoned the Miesian vocabulary that had served him so well in favor of a more bombastic classicism. Oglesby, by contrast, took Mies’s language and adjusted it to local conditions, embracing especially its lush, creek-side plot.
Are there still modest homes on Strait Lane? Fewer now than ever. Ditto Park, Ravine, Armstrong and and Beverly Drive. In fact, the ranch belonging to the parents of Luke and Owen Wilson may be the last.
We were better at modest in the old days. Thanks, Mark.