Do You Want Fries With That?

11 06 2010

I just finished reading Little Boxes: The Architecture of a Classic Midcentury Suburb and was kind of surprised to learn that Outer Sunset OG Henry Doelger was originally against Art Deco homes. He said that he always associated them with fast food joints, but when he was building his second empire in Daly City he was really turned on by what he called the “Fish n’ Chips” style of homes (It’s the pink one on the cover, the green one below it, and then check out the fucking killer living room money shot at the end.) and started to crank those out like nobodies business.

I thought that was a remarkable statement because whenever I look at Art Deco homes a part of me thinks of fast food as well and how often is it that you find yourself agreeing on something like modern architecture with someone who was born in 1896?

The Outer Sunset is a really unique living museum of Indestructible American Suburban Architecture and you can find some great Art Deco gems scattered about out here over here and there. I just discovered this guy the other day.

Do you want fries with that?

I’m really digging that top hat with the blue stripes.

A part of me is convinced that at any moment a Norman Rockwell era Betty will just zip up to me on these rad 1950s roller-skates and a uniform with a blue striped paper hat with my order of a burger, shake, and animal style fries.

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Little Boxes

7 02 2009

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I’m familiar with the repetition in The Outer Sunset. I’m a Navy Brat and a product of the suburbs. The suburbs were tattooed onto my personality’s basic operating system at an early age. Most of the people I knew and grew up with were from the suburbs. You can take one basic floor plan, tweak it a few different ways, and then zerox that off to build entire blocks. Entire neighborhoods. Entire zip codes. They’re building a new suburb near my parent’s house in San Diego that will be bigger than the city of San Francisco. The cycle of Life continues…

Henry Doelger is the Easy E of American Architecture. I really dig this guy. As a child, Henry Doelger supported his family by selling bathtub gin and homemade beer at his “hot dog stand” in Golden Gate Park during the early 1900’s. As an adult, Henry invested the profits from that endeavor to buy real estate and build homes in the sand dunes of The Outside Lands. People called him crazy, but the man built a big chunk of The Outer Sunset and became one of the godfathers of this art form that we now refer to as the suburbs.

The song “Little Boxes” was written about a piece Henry Doelger did in Daily City. What’s ironic is that song is now the theme show for Weeds, a show about drug dealers who rent homes under aliases and use them just to grow pot. These days pot growing houses, along with the sex slave prostitution human traffic racket are the dominating black market cash crops of The Outer Sunset.

What’s funny though is that The Outer Sunset really isn’t cookie cutter art.

It really isn’t.

There’s a lot of diversity and guts out here. It’s very unique like that.

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And this is one of my all time favorite pieces. To me, it’s the architecture equivalent of a Frank Sinatra song. Good art never goes out of style.

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