Stairs of the Gamble House
©CSU Chico Art Dept
San Jose WorldArt
Stairs of the gamble house were modeled from the design of Japanese summer homes. The house has some features in its stair work which are reminiscent of modernism; the stairs share some cuboid shapes with modernist architecture.
Originally intended as a winter residence for David and Mary Gamble, the three-story Gamble House is commonly described as America’s Arts and Crafts masterpiece. Its style shows influence from traditional Japanese aesthetics and a certain California spaciousness born of available land and a permissive climate. The stairs are built with the style of the arts and crafts movement; with rectangular and intersecting builds, the stairs bring to mind the design of Asian design. The Arts and Crafts Movement in American Craftsman style architecture was focused on the use of natural materials, attention to detail, aesthetics, and craftsmanship. This must have and still is one of the most unique forms of architecture that I have seen that impressively mixed two different styles of nations into one masterpiece.
Rooms in the Gamble House were built using multiple kinds of wood: the teak, maple, oak, Port Orford cedar; and mahogany surfaces are placed in sequences to bring out contrasts of color, tone and grain. Inlay in the custom furniture designed by the architects matches inlay in the tile mantle surrounds, and the interlocking joinery on the main staircase was left exposed. One of the wooden panels in the entry hall is actually a concealed door leading to the kitchen, and another panel opens to a clothes closet. The Greene’s used an experienced team of local contractors who had worked together for them in Pasadena on several previous homes, including: the Hall brothers, Peter and John, who are responsible for the high quality of the woodworking in the house and its furniture.
The sensuous woods, the generously low and horizontal room shapes, and the quality of natural light that filters through the art glass exterior windows, coexist with a relatively traditional plan, in which most rooms are regularly shaped and organized around a central hall. Although the house is not as spatially adventurous as the contemporary works of Frank Lloyd Wright or even of the earlier New England “Shingle Style,” its mood is casual and its symmetries tend to be localized – i.e. symmetrically organized spaces and forms in asymmetrical relationships to one another. Ceiling heights are different on the first and second floors; and in the den, the forms and scales of the spaces are constantly shifting. Especially as one moves from the interior of the house to its second-floor, semi-enclosed porches, and its free-form terraces, front and rear. The third floor was planned as a billiard room, but was used as an attic by the Gamble family. The Gamble family crest is a crane and trailing rose, which was integrated in part or whole in many locations around the house, including the stairs of the second and third floors. The stairs of the Gamble house are a beautiful example of Asian contemporary stair design.
If you should ever visit California, you should go see this wonderful art house and all of it’s amazing stairs.