Carter Sparks : Architect, Modernist, Friend

photo courtesy Jennifer Sparks

Sacramento Modern is pleased to present Carter Sparks : Architect, Modernist, Friend, opening October 4th at the Kondos Gallery located on the Sacramento City College campus. 

Sparks is one of Sacramento’s most recognized and beloved Modernist architects, and is best known for his work with Streng Brothers Homes. Alone, as the architect for the Streng Brothers, Sparks contributed to over 3,000 modern residences in the Sacramento Region. In addition to these plentiful examples, Sparks designed commercial and civic buildings and many custom homes for individual clients, ranging in feature and style from modest low-slung concrete block and plywood structures, to expressionist forms employing hyperbolic roofs and symphonic beam play, to larger cathedrals of redwood and glass.

Architectural rendering of the Fava Residence, 1956 by Carter Sparks

A charismatic individual, and ardent believer that an architect’s design should be based on an extended study of clients’ wants, needs and personality, Sparks forged close and enduring friendships with many of them. This exhibition will feature early drawings, renderings, photographs, models and ephemera surveying Sparks’ output from the early 1950s, until the early 1990s.

Detail from Norskog Residence, 1963/1980. Photograph by Justin Wood

Sparks studied engineering at Oregon State University before his studies were interrupted by WWII, during which he served as an ensign air navigator for the Navy. He resumed his studies after the war, and in 1950 earned a Bachelor of the Arts in Architecture from UC Berkeley. Sparks worked as a draftsman for two architectural firms in San Francisco: first for Mario Corbett, and later with Anshen and Allen (who designed homes for Joseph Eichler). In Sacramento, he was a designer with Gordon Stafford. After earning his state license, Sparks opened his own firm in 1954. He partnered with Donald Thaden for a few years, but primarily worked as a sole practitioner.Sparks was born on February 26, 1923 and passed away October 30, 1996.

Exhibition runs from October 4 -26, 2017 with an opening reception October 11th.

Curated by Sacramento artist Justin Wood of the Carter Sparks Archive ( www.cartersparks.org ) and Sacramento Modern ( www.sacmod.org ).

For inquiries and sponsorship opportunities, please contact sparksarchive (at) gmail.com

Donate to help support the Carter Sparks : Architect, Modernist, Friend exhibition:

Photograph of the Clauss Residence, 1963. Photographer unknown, possibly John Clauss