Carter Sparks : Architect, Modernist, Friend

photo courtesy Jennifer Sparks

(There are NEW and EXTENDED gallery hours for the exhibit through closing on Oct. 25th: M&W 10:30-4:00 pm, T&Th 10:00-7:00 pm, Fridays 9:00-4:00 pm & Saturday Oct 21st 10:00-2:00 pm.   Please see map and parking notes at bottom of page.)

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 -25, 2017 with an opening reception October 11th from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.  

The exhibit is FREE, but parking is not—and is enforced 24/7; be sure to purchase a parking permit at one of the machines in the North Lot ($2 CASH ONLY) or Parking Structure ($2).

There are NEW and EXTENDED gallery hours for the exhibit through closing on Oct. 25th: M&W 10:30-4:00 pm, T&Th 10:00-7:00 pm, Fridays 9:00-4:00 pm & Saturday Oct 21st 10:00-2:00 pm. 

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

City of Sacramento Open Call : Ethel MacLeod Hart Interior Restoration Project

Entrance, Vintage Postcard

Ethel McLeod Hart Senior Center, 915 27th St, Sacramento, CA

Opened in 1961 and designed by Herbert Goodpastor, A.I.A, the Ethel Hart Senior Citizen’s Center located in Marshall Park “symbolize[d] the hopes and dreams of our senior citizens, City Government and a great number of citizens dedicated to the welfare and recreation of our elder population.”

The design was featured in Architectural Record in December of 1962. The “Social Center in a City Park” building was “designed in the round to be viewed from all directions in its block-square park.” It featured a large arc shaped club room that could be divided or expanded into larger or smaller rooms with a massive fieldstone fireplace at one end.

Finishes of stone and vertical fir siding were used both inside and out, with porcelain paneled facias. The central core of the building was a planted court open to the sky viewable thorough the safety glass corridor that surrounded it. There were two doors on either end of the court which one could traverse through upon large circular concrete pavers.

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June 18th, 2016: Next Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour!

SacMod’s highly praised and most requested event is back! Join SacMod (Sacramento Modern) on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour from 9AM to 3PM. Tickets sold online here.  To order tickets by phone, please call Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006. Phone orders are available 24/7.

Details below!

Our 2016 tour will feature a wide variety of mid-20th century living — highlighting the time period’s distinctive architecture, design, and lifestyle. Spend a fun day touring some of Sacramento’s best mid-century homes, gardens, and vehicles in Sacramento’s beautiful South Land Park, Land Park, and Hollywood Park neighborhoods. From minimalist to kitsch, moderns to ranch homes, and everything in between. Our collectible guidebook features in-depth historic information, related points of interest, and local vintage resources.

Space is limited — buy your tickets early to ensure you don’t miss out!
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Charles Phoenix: Sacramentoland

A Live Comedy Slide Show Performance Celebrating the Capitol City like it’s a Big Theme Park!  
Charles Phoenix:  Sacramentoland - October 16, 2015
Charles Phoenix: Sacramentoland – October 16, 2015
Brown Paper Tickets Buy Now
Brown Paper Tickets Buy Now

Prepare for your local pride to SWELLL when Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, sweeps us away on a madcap adventure as he uncovers the stories and glories of Sacramento’s classic and kitschy landmarks and lore.

With his gracious sense of humor, unbridled enthusiasm, and keen expertise,  Charles lavishes the city’s most colorful “attractions” with the respect they SO deserve; revealing the unique style, backstories, and pop-cultural significance of Pancake Circus, Jim Denny’s, Iceland Skating Rink, Gunther’s Ice Cream, Vic’s Ice Cream, Sam’s Hofbrau, County Club Lanes, Fairytale Town, Tower Theatre, Crest Theatre, and Old Town.  

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City Council to Decide Fate of Capitol Towers Historic District on 7.14.15

Save Capitol Towers

On July 14, 2015, the Sacramento City Council will be making important decisions regarding Capitol Towers Historic District. This established neighborhood and urban oasis has been a highly successful example for a livable, walkable, densely populated, and public transit-oriented district for over 50 years. It has also been receiving national attention and architectural acclaim, as evidenced in this recent article.

Capitol Towers is also home to a vital urban tree canopy, which cleans the air and helps counterbalance the increasing heat island effect downtown.

We believe there is a solution that can meet the mutual goals of the owner, the City, and the community. We believe that in doing so, we can find an answer that makes the proposed Sacramento Commons project — which is still in its early conceptual phases — even better.

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A Call to Action – Help Save Capitol Towers Historic District!

captowers_buttonWe need your help to save Capitol Towers Historic District. You can help by speaking up at public hearings and by writing letters opposing its demolition. Upcoming hearing dates and an easy-to-use online form are listed below.

Capitol Towers is an established mixed-use neighborhood in the heart of downtown Sacramento. Its award-winning design includes the interplay of high-rises, individual low-rise garden apartments, green spaces, recreational areas, and car-free bicycle and pedestrian areas. Even after over 50 years, the Capitol Towers neighborhood remains a highly successful model for a livable, walkable, densely populated, and public transit-oriented downtown community.

 

Capitol Towers has been deemed a historic district by Federal and State law. The City of Sacramento’s Preservation Director and Preservation Commission have also determined it is a local landmark. At every hearing in 2014, experts unanimously voted in favor of its historical importance. However, these decisions are not enough to save it. That is why we need your help.

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SAVE Capitol Towers! Important Hearings this Week!

UPDATE 4.20.15 – Planning and Design Commission continued their “Review and Comment” hearing until 4.30.15.

MEANWHILE…. SacMod has submitted comments to the City of Sacramento regarding Sacramento Commons Draft Environmental Impact Report.

2015.04.20 DEIR.Response.SacMod (PDF)

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IMPORTANT HEARINGS REGARDING CAPITOL TOWERS THIS WEEK! Please join us in support of Capitol Towers Historic District and in opposition of the Sacramento Commons proposal to demolish the historic district.

1) Wednesday, 4/15/15 — Preservation Commission — 5:30pm New City Hall, 915 I Street, Sacramento, 1st Floor. The Preservation Commission will weigh in on both the Capitol Towers Historic District local landmarking and Sacramento Commons’ request for demolition.

2) Thursday, 4/16/15 — Planning and Design Commission — 5:30pm New City Hall, 915 I Street, Sacramento, 1st Floor. The P+D Commission will weigh in on Sacramento Commons’ request for demolition. 

Written comments are also accepted. Please cc SacMod: info (at) SacMod (dot) org:

1) Preservation Commission email list
http://portal.cityofsacramento.org/Community-Development/Meetings/Preservation%20Commission?hc_location=ufi

2) P+D Commission email list:
http://portal.cityofsacramento.org/Community-Development/Meetings/Planning%20and%20Design?hc_location=ufi

Here is a template letter for your convenience, in Word, Pages, and PDF.

Letter-of-Support-of-M15-001-and-Opposition-to-P14-12 (Word)
Letter-of-Support-of-M15-001-and-Opposition-to-P14-12  (Pages)
Letter-of-Support-of-M15-001-and-Opposition-to-P14-12 (PDF)

Capital Decades 1960s at the Sacramento Library

Capital Decades 1960s
Capital Decades 1960s

On May 12th, 2015 at 6:30 pm. we are joining our friends at the Sacramento Public Library again this year for “Capital Decades: 1960s.” We’ll be teaming with James Scott for “The Best of Times, the Toughest of Times: Sacramento Life, Leisure and Reaction to that Damned War in Southeast Asia.”  Join us and reminisce or learn about our local history!

Capitol Towers Officially Declared Historic District!

photo by Justin Wood
photo by Justin Wood

Sacramento Modern (“SacMod”) is pleased to announce that Capitol Towers — a thriving park neighborhood and urban oasis near Capitol Mall — has been determined eligible to be on the National Register of Historic Places. As a result, the district is also listed in the California Register of Historic Resources.

SacMod continues to seek protections at the local level by requesting that the City of Sacramento include Capitol Towers on the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources. This pending decision temporarily prevents demolition permits from being granted for parcel numbers relating to the historic district until the matter is voted upon by the City of Sacramento Preservation Commission and City Council.

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