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Play Pavilion: 1959

Play Pavilion: 1959

"Recreation Pavilion. Mirman Residence, Arcadia, California, 1959. Architects: Buff, Straub & Hensman." Color transparency by Julius Shulman. View full size. I see the potential here for limitless, free-spirited fun. (Please do not move cushions more than one-quarter inch from designated positions on the Recreation Pavilion Fun Grid. The Herman Miller benches will not be moved more than 21 bricks away from decking. Tennis racquets allowed on pillows only if propped at an appropriately informal angle, 35 degrees to the horizontal. Thank you.)

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

House Rules

And, please! Remember, when stacking the round pillows, its RED, WHITE, YELLOW. Not Red, yellow, white. It's never red, yellow, white.

Actually, I like clean open space, but I also like soft and comfy, which in this case must be happening in some other part of the house. Perhaps in the den. Remember dens?

LOVE your comments

Your comments about the anal aspect of this design made me laugh out loud.

I also had to laugh because I grew up with square white metal stools like this, and with Avocado green Naugahyde (from genuine Naugas) cushions, and they were INSIDE the house, as, oddly, all our "family room" furniture was really white metal patio furniture.

I still have those tables, somewhere but the Naugas have, sadly, gone home to roost.

thank you SO much for all the wonderful photos you share.

Re: The Robots

>> of the robots, all together to appreciate the art of
>> Ray and Charles Eames, Saarinen, George Nelson, Antonia
>> Campi, Isamu Noguchi, Verner Panton, Arne Jacobson ...
>> Well as society gets worse I can at lock myself up in my
>> house and appreciate everything I love

Uhm ... ok. Talk about pretentious. You're just like the people you hate.

Hey, that's not just a chicken...

The rooster brings back wonderfully warm memories of our kitchen. Roosters were "in." We had rooster dishes, toaster and mixer covers, coffee cups. We even had a wrought iron rooster on the brick wall in the family room. Ah, bring back the 50s and 60s!! Sigh...

I couldn't agree more!

I am a part of the new generation just by birthright, I was born in 1986. I am also a mid century collector and have been for a long time. My house is a fifties hodge podge from Herman Miller clocks to an Eames lounge, fiberglass shell chairs, and my prized Franciscan Starburst collection ... ANYWAY I am disgusted with society, they are boring, bluetooth chatting zombies, who live in cheap boxes they call homes, and drive these boring boxes they call SUV's and Minivans. I just wish there was a colony of mid century modernists, gated away from the rest of the robots, all together to appreciate the art of Ray and Charles Eames, Saarinen, George Nelson, Antonia Campi, Isamu Noguchi, Verner Panton, Arne Jacobson ... Well as society gets worse I can at lock myself up in my house and appreciate everything I love ... Btw I drive a volvo station wagon ... an old black cherry colored one ... it's fabulous!

Recreation Pavilion?

Please. It's a backyard patio.

On the bright side there's plenty of places to fall down drunk.

Bright colors

I think young people think of the 1950s as a bland and colorless time because they are use to seeing it in black & white photos, movies and TV shows but actually it was a time of lots of chrome and bold bright colors. I suspect this was a rebellion from the dull monotonous military greens and grays of the 1940s. I rather miss this now as we seem to be again stuck in a era of subdued earth tone colors and bland lookalike cars.


Love. It.

I am a 50s freak

I love this area. Change out the blue accents for lime, dull the orange, and pump up the yellow. Replace the ping pongers with my easel and Playstation. Place gets dusty, hose it down. An ice-cube making machine and Shorpy/ TTerrance to entertain me with photograph commentary. I'm good.

Don't care what anyone says

I LOVE IT! There, I've said it. And I think that brick pattern is called basket-weave. Also, note to Bill Cary: Don't forget Sky King and Penny. They'd live here, too - along with Jeff and Mary from The Donna Reed Show - and everybody would be happy all the time.


If this is where they play and relax, I'm afraid to see what the rest of the house looks like. Bet there's not a comfortable surface in the entire place.


Julius Shulman was one of the first architectural photographers to actually allow people in his photos, humanizing houses designed by California architectural luminaries Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler and Pierre Koenig. Shulman's images of the Mirman Residence by Buff, Straub and Hensman in Arcadia, for example, show people in conversation in the house's dining or sitting room areas. Here, as in almost all of Shulman's photos, there is a secondary group of people (the children) in the background. Such a mise-en-scène guarantees that the viewer's eye does not settle on that single living-room scene only; it also demonstrates that the house is really lived in, that it is a place where many different activities can take place at the same time.

-- Julius Shulman: Man Behind the Camera

Asian influence.

Very Asian sensibility. Lots of wood, open, angular... Very nice if a bit dated.

Very 50s California

Back then Sunset Magazine was filled with page after page of design and decor like this.

Lots of running room.

I bet the Spencer kids loved coming over to play there.


I love the cantilever table. No shin busters under that. I wonder if it folds or slides in somehow - the way the slatted bench runs under it makes me think the table is not a permanent fixture. Ooo, dig that chicken on the table.

Here's the Story

This room was obviously designed by the illustrious Mike Brady. Look around and notice the bright orange and marigold cushions, the astroturf yard where the well mannered children (Brady cousins?) play table tennis, and just behind the lovely lady pouring non-alcoholic iced tea hides a free floating stairway leading to the main floor of the split level house.

The banality of this room makes it look like something sinister designed by Rod Serling for the Twilight Zone's unwitting patrons. Actually, this could also be a play room for Opie, Wally & the Beaver, Will & Penny, and the children on Make Room For Daddy. None of them had toys and Opie's life seemed just this sterile and bland with Aunt Bea. Sorry, I slipped into the play room and got lost in the space.

Everything just so

This would be a great place to live if you had OCD. All the nice straight lines and right angles!

The round cushions would have to go, though.


Just lean back and relax. It's easy: sit on the bricks and lean against a post. Really comfy! Had I been a guest I would have a headache and have to leave. Yeccch.

Avert your eyes. Hide the children!

The red candles -- not parallel. The one on the left has about a 1-degree tilt from the perpendicular. Call 911! Call 911!

Pinch Pong

All that room and they squeeze the ping pong table between a brick wall and the pavilion. Bet they lose a lot of balls over the wall. It's the most uncomfortable looking play area I've ever seen.

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